Priest sentenced to 2 years in prison for parish thefts

United Press International
May 7, 1992

Providence, R.I. - The former pastor of a Roman Catholic church in North Providence was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for stealing more than $123,400 from the parish.

The Rev. Philip Magaldi, who most recently was assigned to four rural parishes in Texas, was ordered to serve the sentence in the Adult Correctional Institutions' work release program. No restitution was ordered because the judge said Magaldi is too poor to pay it.

Providence Bishop Louis E. Gelineau said he was barring Magaldi, 56, from performing his priestly functions until further notice.

Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Needham, an Irish Catholic, said it was the toughest sentencing decision he ever had to make.

Since childhood, the judge said, he has been taught that ''stealing from the poor box was one of the most heinous crimes you could commit.''

Magaldi pleaded guilty Feb. 28, to four counts of embezzlement of church funds. He admitted stealing money from weekly church collections, church bingo games and a parish activities fund between 1985 and 1988.

''No matter what the state says, I am repentent,'' Magaldi said, breaking into tears prior to sentencing.

Magaldi and his lawyer said some of the money was used to make church renovations and pay salaries. Some also went to pay the mortgage of a man with cancer who was unable to support his family, the cleric said.

But Needham said substantial funds were unaccounted for and he believes Magaldi stole much more than $120,000.

According to the attorney general's office, some of the money was spent on lottery tickets and lavish vacations with the priest's young male friends in the Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Canada.

The judge cited another instance in which the priest met a male teenager in a park in Montreal and have him money to pay for a car so the youth could go to California.


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