Priest Charged with Stealing from School Surrenders to Police

NBC 10
December 24, 2007

A Catholic priest charged with stealing from the school he was running turned himself in to police Monday morning.

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The Rev. Charles Newman surrendered to the district attorney's office at 8 a.m.

Newman will be charged with multiple felony counts of theft and forgery.

He spent nearly 20 years as an educator, principal and president of Archbishop Ryan High School.

Investigators said Thursday that it was through a multiyear investigation into missing money that they uncovered new allegations of drugs, alcohol and sexual abuse.

Newman was suddenly dismissed in 2003 from his post as president of the Catholic high school, which is the largest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"We don't concern ourselves with why he hasn't been defrocked. We are only going to be answerable for the fact that we're charging him criminally for stealing over $900,000," District Attorney Lynne Abraham said Thursday.

A grand jury report that has recently been unsealed alleges that Newman stole $331,000 from the high school scholarship and bingo funds and more than $500,000 from his religious order, the Franciscan Friars.

But in the years since, the district attorney's office and a grand jury launched an investigation that they said uncovered that some of those funds went to pay a former Ryan student Newman is accused of sexually abusing.

Abraham said Newman paid that man more than $50,000.

"He would invite him over to his office and then to the rectory and to his bedroom. And they would engage in sexual misconduct. In addition to that, Newman would give (him) drugs from other friars in the house who were taking medications for illnesses or ailments, and met (him) in bars and paid his bar bills and gave him large sums of money," Abraham said.

The younger man, who claimed Newman introduced him to drugs and alcohol, has since died from a drug overdose.


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