Convicted Worcester Diocese Priest Returned to Limited Ministry
By Steven H. Foskett
Telegram & Gazette
March 10, 2016
A priest who pleaded guilty in court last year to stealing nearly $240,000 from St. Bernadette Parish and School in Northboro is returning to limited ministry.
According to the Diocese of Worcester, Bishop Robert J. McManus has granted the Rev. Stephen M. Gemme permission for limited pastoral ministry effective immediately. He will celebrate Mass and other sacraments at Crozier House and other non-parish settings. Crozier House is a residential facility operated by Catholic Charities for men recovering from addictions, according to the diocese.
The bishop removed Rev. Gemme from ministry in July 2013 after being advised by a member of a school advisory board of financial irregularities in one of the school accounts.
The bishop said he met with Rev. Gemme the next day, and the priest admitted to a gambling problem. He pleaded guilty last year in Worcester Superior Court to two counts of larceny of more than $250 by a single scheme, and was placed on probation for 5 years.
According to the diocese, the parish and school were reimbursed through diocesan insurance. Rev. Gemme entered into a restitution agreement with the diocese and its insurers, and participated in a mental health evaluation and continuing treatment for his gambling addiction, the diocese said in a statement released Thursday.
He will not function in any fiduciary capacity in his limited ministry, the diocese said.