Priest Who Gambled Away Church's $300,000 May Lose Probation over Repayment
By Clifford Ward
February 18, 2016
|The Rev. John Regan, left, is greeted by a friend as Regan arrives for his Aug. 16, 2011, sentencing in Wheaton. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)
e case of a Catholic priest convicted of gambling away $300,000 of parish funds remains in limbo after DuPage County prosecutors Thursday asked for a hearing to revoke his probation.
The Rev. John Regan will face an April 14 hearing on the revocation, which prosecutors said was based on Regan's failure to completely repay the money he took from St. Walter Parish in Roselle.
The priest appeared in court briefly Thursday before Judge John Kinsella, who had sentenced Regan in 2011 to four years of probation, as well as some jail time and time in the county work-release program. The judge also ordered Regan to work a menial job to begin repaying the money.
The priest has satisfied his probation requirements — his attorney, Jack Donahue, said Thursday that Regan had been "religious" about meeting his obligations — but still owes $272,000 to the Diocese of Joliet.
Regan has been making monthly restitution payments of about $300, which increased to $700 a month starting in January, his attorney said. Donahue told the court that Regan and the diocese have worked out a payment plan that runs through 2031.
Donahue said prosecutors will have to prove at the April revocation hearing that Regan has "willfully" failed to make restitution.
"They can't even show he's failed to pay," Donahue said after the hearing.
Regan was assigned as the pastor at the Roselle parish in 2006 and was arrested two years later after the parish learned he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars to gamble at riverboat casinos. At his sentencing hearing in 2011, Regan spoke of battling a longtime gambling addiction.
Last year, he was assigned to St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Joliet as a priest in residence.
Clifford Ward is a freelance reporter.