|Priest Pleads Guilty to Taking Thousands from Parishioner
November 19, 2011
A Roman Catholic priest charged with stealing more than $300,000 from an elderly parishioner admitted to one count of theft this week.
The Rev. Michael Angeloni, 62, entered his guilty plea on Thursday and now faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.
Deputy Attorney General Kevin Carroll declined comment Friday, saying he would speak after sentencing.
Angeloni's admission comes less than a month after another priest, the Rev. Cornelius Breslin, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $383,000 restitution for stealing from his Wilmington parish.
Breslin, like Angeloni, had pleaded guilty to one count of theft of more than $100,000.
Angeloni is accused of soliciting money on multiple occasions from a parishioner at Church of the Holy Child on Naamans Road in Brandywine Hundred, where Angeloni had been an associate pastor.
Prosecutors said Angeloni told the victim he needed the money for certain, specific personal expenses, "when in fact, the money was used for other purposes."
Prosecutors did not explain what those "other purposes" were -- or the personal expenses -- but said they were tipped off to the problem by Wilmington Trust, which reported suspicious activity on the victim's account. Court papers indicate the thefts of funds occurred between August 2008 and February 2011 and that the victim was over the age of 62.
Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly issued a brief statement expressing his sadness "that an elderly member of our church community would be taken advantage of by anyone in a position of leadership in our church."
Malooly said he recently met with the victim to personally apologize.
"We as a community must do whatever we can to protect and support our senior citizens and those who are most vulnerable," Malooly said.
Angeloni was suspended in April by the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington from exercising his priestly duties or dressing as a priest.
Contact Sean O'Sullivan at 324-2777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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