Jury Gets Case of Former Rapid City Priest
By Jack Caudill
March 9, 2020
|Marcin Garbacz makes his first appearance in federal court.|
The trial of a former Rapid City Catholic priest accused of stealing from church collections is now in the hands of the jury.
The jury got the case of 41-year old Marcin Garbacz after closing arguments Monday morning..
Garbacz is facing a total of 65 charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, transportation of stolen money and filing a false tax return.
In his closing statement Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson told the jury that they believe Garbacz stole nearly $260,000 from parishes in the Rapid City Diocese, depositing the money in his bank account, then taking that money across state lines when he moved to Missouri and didn't declare the money on his tax return.
Patterson said, "The scheme to defraud is astounding. The evidence is overwhelming."
Garbacz's attorney, Jennifer Albertson, told the jury that even though they heard a recording of Garbacz admitting to thefts from St. Therese Church and saw a surveillance video of him taking money, the government didn't prove that Garbacz stole and spent as much as the government claims.
She asked if each count was proven beyond a reasonable doubt or does the evidence just prove that Garbacz has expensive tastes and shouldn't be a priest?