Against orders, priest leaves diocese, treatment program after pleading guilty to theft

Rapid City Journal

December 26, 2018

By Arielle Zionts

A former Rapid City priest who pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of dollars of church donations has left a treatment program and the diocese, going against instructions from the bishop, according to the diocese’s December newsletter.

Marcin Garbacz was suspended from his ministry duties in May after church officials caught him stealing and sent to a six-month treatment program in St. Louis.

In July, he was charged with first-degree embezzlement of property received in trust and first-degree petty theft in the alternative, which means he could only be convicted on one of the counts. Garbacz pleaded guilty to the theft charge on Oct. 26.

He received a suspended imposition of sentence — which means his record will be sealed from the public, but not the courts or police — from Judge Bernard Schuchmann on Oct 31. Garbacz paid $334 in fines and costs, and $620 in restitution to the church, a clerk said.

While Garbacz appears to have complied with the court system, the diocese says he’s not following church orders.

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