St. Gregory's Pastor Misappropriated Church Funds, Archdiocese Says

By Hema Easley
Journal News
August 10 2010

Thomas Kreiser (File photo/The Journal News)

The pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville misappropriated funds from the parish, according to the results of an audit completed by the Archdiocese of New York.

The Rev. Thomas Kreiser resigned suddenly from his post in mid-June, ostensibly for personal and medical reasons, leaving parishioners shocked by his unexpected departure. No details were provided.

The archdiocese then launched an investigation.

Kate Monaghan, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Monday that an audit had been completed. She did not elaborate .

But a notice published in the church bulletin, which she provided, said local authorities had been notified. All funds had been returned to the parish, according to the bulletin.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe could not be reached Monday evening for comment.

"Following a review of the administration of the parish, including an audit insisted upon by the archdiocese, it was learned that Father's difficulties led to the mismanagement of some parish funds," the bulletin said.

It did not elaborate on what the difficulties were. It said the former pastor was seeking treatment.

Monaghan had few answers about the circumstances of Kreiser's departure. She did not say how much money had been misappropriated or over what period, and where Kreiser was at this time.

Monaghan said all questions would have to be answered by the chancellor of the archdiocese, who was away this week.

In the bulletin provided by the archdiocese, it acknowledged serious financial problems in the parish. Revenues were down and expenses were up.

To tackle that problem, the parish was reducing rectory staff, including its cook, and eliminating the position of parish project manager, saving the parish about $85,000 a year.

A new pastor will be appointed sometime in August, the bulletin said. Monsignor William Reynolds, a retired priest, has been serving the parish in the interim.

The St. Gregory's community has had other troubles involving priests. In 1994, the archdiocese reached a settlement with three Rockland men who were abused in the early 1980s by Joseph Theisen, a priest at St. Gregory's who was later defrocked. Each man received $20,000 and promised not to talk publicly about what happened.

In 2007, a former parish priest, the Rev. Gary Mead, was arrested in a sex-sting operation at a Bedford rest stop. The case was subsequently sealed.



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