No delay for Fay

By Susan Shultz
Darien Times
November 15, 2007

A federal judge denied a request by the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, who pleaded guilty to stealing up to $1 million from St. John Roman Catholic Parish, to delay his sentencing due to his cancer.

The denial was filed on Oct. 25.

Federal prosecutors opposed the request, saying the former pastor of Darien's oldest Catholic church began his criminal activity in 1999 and his victims should not have to wait longer for justice.

In September, Fay pleaded guilty in New Haven federal court to interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud. He resigned last year as pastor of St. John Parish.

Fay, who faces up to 10 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Dec. 4. He asked that his sentencing be delayed until April, saying his prostate cancer has spread to his bones and lymph nodes and has become resistant to chemotherapy.

Fay has begun a different chemotherapy designed to delay the cancer. His attorney says in a court filing that those in his condition generally have an expected lifespan of several months, but his doctor cautions against applying statistics to his case.

Fay wants the sentencing to occur after the treatment has been administered, saying the court would be in a better position to consider the impact of his illness on his sentence.

Prosecutors say if Fay is sentenced to prison, his reporting date can be delayed to accommodate medical treatments. Authorities also say the Bureau of Prisons can address his medical needs.

In May 2006, it was discovered that Fay had been using church money to support his lavish lifestyle, which included trips to Europe, the Caribbean and other parts of the United States. A private investigation — prompted by another church priest and its bookkeeper — also discovered that Fay was in a romantic relationship with a Philadelphia event planner, Cliff Fantini. Fay resigned shortly after the news broke.

An August 2006 independent audit commissioned by the Diocese of Bridgeport, reported that St. John Parish lost at least $1.4 million since 2000. Fay became church pastor in 1991.

Authorities say Fay set up secret bank accounts to pay for a life of luxury, including traveling around the world and buying a condominium.

Prosecutors said Fay took between $1 million and $2.5 million over seven years, but the priest has disputed that. He admitted to taking between $400,000 and $1 million.

Fay shopped at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, drove a Jaguar, attended a sports club, bought jewelry from Cartier, spent $130,000 for limo rides for himself and his mother, and stayed at hotels such as the Ritz Carlton, Hotel De Paris and the Four Seasons Hotel, the church report found.

He spent tens of thousands of dollars on home furnishings and meals and more than $20,000 to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination, according to the church report.

Fay was released on a $50,000 bond and required to surrender his passport immediately. His travel, the judge said, is restricted to Connecticut and Florida. He was told he cannot go to New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania without giving notice to his probation officer. He will also be required to report to probation officers in Connecticut and Florida.

Fay's attorney, Lawrence Hopkins, did not return calls for comment.

With the guilty plea, Fay waived his right to appeal — unless he is sentenced to more than 57 months.

Tom Carson of the U.S. Attorney's office said statements on behalf of Fay and the victims of Fay's crimes may be made at the sentencing hearing. Carson said the court has yet to decide if the victims in this case may be represented as a whole by the Diocese of Bridgeport, or if individual parishioners may be able to speak.

E-mail Darien Times reporter Susan Shultz at

Previously on

Fay seeks delay in sentencing Tue Oct 16

Father Fay admits it Thu Sept 13


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