Guinan Headed to State Prison

By Tim Malloy
March 25, 2009

A deputy fingerprints Francis Guinan after being found guily of grand theft
Photo by Dan Puente

WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- Judge Krista Marx looked down from the bench at Rev. Francis Guinan and delivered a withering assessment of his legacy.

"You are in this situation because of your greed and gall.Because of your corruption, your greed, the charitable heart of many has been stifled. People will remember you stood on the pulpit and said, give to the poor and we will give to the poor. That didn’t happen," she said.

With that, Guinan was off to County jail with a cell awaiting him in the State prison system.

"It breaks my heart. It's sad you can give forty years of your life to the church and get what is essentially life in prison," said a loyal friend who attended the trial.

But some believe the Diocese dragged its feet on prosecuting father Guinan and his predecessor at St. Vincent Ferrer Church, Father John Skehan.

Attorney Ed Ricci, a devout Catholic says he alerted the Diocese years ago that money was being siphoned out of church accounts by Father Guinan.

"If you know for 7 years these guys are stealing and the only time action is taken is when a parishoner goes to the police, you're engaged in a cover-up," Ricci said.

The Guinan-Skehan scandal has been closely watched in Ireland where both priests were born.

Correspondent Aoife Kavanagh is preparing a one hour special for the Irish TV network RTE and has spent the last week covering the trial here with her camera crew and producer.

"There's a lot of people reading the newspapers and watching TV trying to find out what happened. Financial scandals haven't happened too much in Ireland. All sorts of other scandals .There's quite alot of lapsed Catholics going; Here we go again. Another scandal with the Catholic Church”, ended Kavanaugh.



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