Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Catholic nun gets jail time for stealing $128,000 from churches

Sister Mary Anne Rapp (R) has been a nun for nearly 50 years. Her thefts were discovered during an audit in 2011.

WIVB

Sister Mary Anne Rapp (R) has been a nun for nearly 50 years. Her thefts were discovered during an audit in 2011.

A New York nun tried to serve both God and money—and ended up behind bars.
Sister Mary Anne Rapp was sentenced to 90 days in jail for stealing from two churches to feed the
slots at several western New York casinos.
The Roman Catholic nun will have to pay back the $128,000 she stole from St. Mary’s Church in Holley and St. Mark’s Church in Kendall. She’s also been ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and will spend five years on probation, WGRZ reports.
In court on Monday, the 68-year-old admitted to shortchanging the church to fuel her gambling addiction. The thefts happened between March 2006 and April 2011. During that time, she stole money from the collection plate and diverted checks that were payable to the church. Rapp was outed during an audit in 2011. When she was initially questioned by investigators, she refused to fess up to her crime. In April 2013, she pleaded guilty to grand larceny.
The nun was originally charged with second-degree grand larceny, a felony that could have locked her up in jail for 15 years. Because she had a clean rap sheet and showed willingness to get treatment, prosecutors decided to offer her a more lenient deal.
In a statement, the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity expressed their continued support for their fallen sister.
“Despite the enormous support that Sister Mary Anne received from friends, parishioners and her religious community, her proactive approach to her recovery and her involvement in meaningful ministry, the judge determined that she deserved jail time. We feel great empathy for the two church communities affected by her actions. Sister Mary Anne is a member of our community and we will continue to help and support her,” the statement said.
But prosecutors weren’t as forgiving. Joe Cardone, Orleans County District Attorney, said that Rapp got what was she deserved after lying to parishoners, to the church and to investigators.
“Over the years, I’m sure she’s helped a lot of people and a lot of causes,” Cardone told WGRZ. “But you can’t ignore the dishonesty that she was involved with.”