Priest Accused of Stealing Parish Cash
Lambertville Parish Lost $10k, Says Prosecutor. the Rev. Marian Drozd to Appear in Court Today

By Andrea Eilenberger
The Express-Times [New Jersey]
February 09, 2007

Flemington | A Lambertville priest has been arrested for stealing more than $10,000 from his church between August and January.

The Rev. Marian Drozd, the parochial vicar of St. John the Evangelist Parish, previously admitted to taking the money and has paid most of it back, according to Metuchen Diocese spokeswoman Joanne Ward.

Church staff members noticed a significant dip in the collections generated from Masses, which had previously been fairly consistent from service to service, said Dan Hurley, spokesman for Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office.

He credits them with noticing the suspicious change and handling it properly.

"Their true concern was for the parish and the church itself," Hurley said.

The diocese reported the allegations to the prosecutor in late January.

The prosecutor's office announced Drozd's arrest on Thursday. He was released without bail and is facing a charge of third-degree theft. Drozd is scheduled to appear in Hunterdon County Superior Court today.

Hurley declined to name an exact amount Drozd allegedly stole from the church.

"(Drozd) took a voluntary leave of absence once the suspicion of misappropriation of money was reported to the diocese," Ward said.

He is now staying with family in the area, she said.

"Father Drozd has admitted to his wrongdoing and has expressed his contrition to Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski and to his pastor, Monsignor Leon Kasprzyk," Ward wrote in a statement dated Jan. 30.

Drozd first came to St. John's in July, Ward said. There are 1,482 registered families at the church, she said.

He was ordained in Poland in 1991 and came to the Metuchen Diocese in 2003.

He was first assigned to St. Mary of Czestochowa in Bound Brook and then to St. Cecelia in Iselin.

Ward said it is premature to comment on his future with St. John's.

A message left at the church Thursday night was not returned.

Drozd has "pledged to return to the parish whatever additional amount it is finally determined was taken," Ward wrote in the statement.

Drozd's arrest marks the second time in five months that a local parish leader has been charged with stealing from the flock. The Rev. Bob Ascolese, the former pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Washington, was charged with stealing nearly $1 million from his church in September. He has until Feb. 21 to decide whether he'll accept a plea bargain calling for three years in prison or head to trial.

Reporter Andrea Eilenberger can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.