A Catholic nun with a gambling addiction pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Monday to stealing from New York churches she served in to the tune of $128,000.
According to the Associated Press, Sister Mary Anne Rapp, who has been a nun for almost 50 years, admitted to a five-year stealing spree in which she took church money from two different rural parishes she worked for and used it to fund her gambling addiction.
Rapp was fired from her position at St. Mary’s and St. Mark’s in upstate New York in April 2011 following an audit of the churches’ 2010 finances, ordered by a newly assigned pastor. Kevin Keenan, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, said the audit uncovered “some irregularities” that were brought to the attention of a county prosecutor. As a result, Rapp was placed on leave and agreed to undergo treatment for a gambling addiction.
Keenan told the Huffington Post that he couldn’t determine whether the thefts, which took place between 2006 and 2010, had seriously hindered the church’s operations. "These are smaller parishes in a rural part of the diocese," Keenan said. "But regardless of the size, this would be a significant amount of money for any parish."
Rapp, now 68, reportedly accepted a plea deal from District Attorney Joseph Cardone, the Daily News Online reported. In exchange for pleading guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, a charge that is punishable by up to four years in prison, Rapp will not receive a jail sentence of longer than six months. She must also pay “reasonable restitution” to the church.
"She's been a nun for a very long time, been a very good person, never in any trouble before," Rapp’s attorney, James Harrington, said. "She did great work wherever she was assigned."