Priests Charged with Theft Barred from Ministry

Boca Raton News
March 1, 2009

Bishop Gerald Barbarito of the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach has barred from public ministry two priests charged with stealing money from the Delray Beach church where they were assigned.

The Rev. John Skehan pleaded guilty last week to grand theft of more than $100,000. The Rev. Francis Guinan was found guilty by a jury of grand theft between $20,000 and $100,000. Both will be sentenced later this month.

In a statement, the parish said that "independent of this matter, a policy of regular thorough biennial reviews of every diocesan entity by independent audit firms" has been established.

"In light of Father Guinan's conviction and Father Skehan's recent guilty plea, Bishop Barbarito will continue to restrict [them] from public ministry. They will be expected to lead lives in reparation for their actions."

The statement says the diocese "has successfully sought and intends to continue to seek restitution of stolen funds. We will continue to do our best to right a wrong that should never have occurred and is a grave aberration from the upright conduct of the majority of good priests in our diocese."


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