A South Dakota priest has been sentenced to almost eight years in federal prison, after he was convicted of 65 felonies related to stealing donations from Catholic parishes. Ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution, the priest said he stole in part because he disagrees with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.
The priest is also facing federal criminal charges related to child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.
Fr. Marcin Garbacz, 42, was convicted in March of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud — crimes he committed while serving as a chaplain and Catholic school teacher in the Diocese of Rapid City, between 2012 and 2018. Garbacz was ordained a priest in 2004.
Prosecutors said the priest stole more than $250,000 from parishes, spending some money on artwork, a piano, a Cadillac, liturgical items, and a $10,000 diamond ring.
In 2019, the priest was arrested at Seattle’s airport, shortly before boarding a flight to his native Poland, for which he had purchased a one-way ticket. He had more than $10,000 in cash in his possession, along with several chalices, diamonds, icons, pens, an expensive watch, along with cufflinks and other jewelery items.
He had withdrawn more than $50,000 from his bank account before the flight, according to court records.
Read more at Catholic News Agency