From the El Paso Times: In a rare move, Catholic Bishop Armando X. Ochoa and Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas on Wednesday sued a controversial priest and his brother, alleging they mishandled thousands of dollars in church money.
The suit, described as an extraordinary measure by the bishop, alleges that the Rev. Michael E. Rodriguez improperly accepted donations meant for San Juan Bautista parish and opened certificates of deposit in his name that were meant for church construction projects.
The suit also names Rodriguez's brother, David Rodriguez.
The Rev. Rodriguez, who was reassigned from San Juan Bautista Parish on Sept. 20, 2011, to Santa Teresa de Jesus Parish in Presidio, Texas, denied any wrongdoing in a statement released Thursday. The priest was reassigned for becoming politically involved in a recall effort against the mayor and two City Council representatives.
On Thursday, Ochoa said he could not comment on the lawsuit.
But according to the suit, Ochoa learned of the alleged mishandling on Sept. 7, 2011, when two former parishioners reported that the Rev. Rodriguez was soliciting money from them and others but asked that the checks be made payable to him instead of the church.
In a letter to parishioners on the El Paso Catholic diocese website, Ochoa said that Rodriguez failed to comply with diocesan policies relating to parish finances. He also stated that the priest has repeatedly refused to make a complete disclosure of how San Bautista church donations were used.
"I have had to resort to an extraordinary measure in order to protect the patrimony and restore the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista parish," Ochoa stated in the letter. http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_19729925
Today, Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe is going to be sentenced for the money he stole from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Summerlin. He stole at least $650,000 from the Church over the years and he stole money from everywhere the Church had money- collection plates, Church candles, gift shop etc.
I'm not sure where McAuliffe is living nowadays, but I am thinking this is a strong possibility: I think he is living in a monastery somewhere but is collecting his salary as a priest. He then is turning over his salary to the Church as restitution but in the meantime, he is getting all of his living expenses paid for. I am sure he is paying nothing for rent, for food and other basic living expenses.
If this is the scenario, then this is not causing McAuliffe any hardship. He is getting his expenses paid for and his salary is being turned over to the Diocese, kind of like a Ponzi Scheme.
Meanwhile, the Diocese still has McAuliffe's picture on it's web site( http://www.lasvegas-diocese.org/priests.php ), along with the other priests who have not been arrested for theft or anything else.
Obviously, McAuliffe is being treated with kid gloves by the Las Vegas Diocese.
The Las Vegas Diocese ought to take the example of the El Paso Diocese and sue McAuliffe for the money he stole. They ought to fire him and he needs to be defrocked as a priest. Then the Clark County prosecutors ought to charge him in State court instead of Federal court. He hurt a lot of people and broke the trust of hundreds, if not thousands of people who call the Catholic Church home in Las Vegas.
But Bishop Pepe, bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, seems to think otherwise. Too bad and what a poor example the Bishop is showing to Catholics and to the public in general. What a shame.