NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former Greenwich priest should be sent to prison for about a year for obstructing an investigation into his personal use of church money, federal prosecutors said.
Michael Moynihan, who resigned in 2007 as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in New Haven after pleading guilty last year to obstructing a federal investigation. Moynihan wants to be spared prison time, according to prosecutors.
"There is simply no excuse for a religious leader to knowingly lie and provide false documentation when an effort is being made to uncover facts surrounding off-the-book accounts," prosecutors wrote in court papers Wednesday. "The court should reject the notion that religious leaders or other types of white collar professionals should be sentenced more lightly than the powerless because, for the former, the embarrassment of conviction alone is more devastating than it would be for those who have enjoyed fewer advantages in life."
A message left with his attorney Friday was not immediately returned. His sentencing papers were filed under seal.
Authorities say Moynihan used about $300,000 of church funds to pay personal expenses including credit card bills.
An investigation by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport found in 2008 that Moynihan could not account for church money he kept in secret accounts and engaged in a pattern of deception when confronted. The FBI had contacted church officials about the secret accounts.
The money that went toward Moynihan's credit card bills was part of $2.1 million in expenditures from two off-the-books accounts, but most of the money went to documented legitimate expenses or expenses that appeared to be appropriate, the diocese's report found. The report offered few details on how Moynihan might have spent church money, but it cited $58,000 used to buy a boat as well as restaurant and travel expenses and a livery service.
Moynihan also lied about the existence of the secret accounts and falsely claimed he reimbursed himself for a $1,000 scholarship to a child, auditors said.
Besides providing misleading information to church accountants, Moynihan lied to FBI agents in December 2010 about forging a signature on a letter, the U.S. attorney's office said. At the time, he was aware that a grand jury was investigating whether he used parish funds for his benefit, officials said.
"His formidable educational background and religious training surely gave him a moral compass to recognize that lying to conceal the truth about his own conduct was seriously wrong," prosecutors wrote.
Moynihan was stripped of his priestly authority in 2008 after the Bridgeport diocese learned that he shared a New York city apartment with another man and failed to end that association despite promises to do so.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — A Massachusetts man who was driving a casino tour bus that struck and killed a pedestrian at Mohegan Sun last year has been arrested.
A Middletown man was seriously injured after crashing into a telephone pole in the overnight hours Tuesday.
Norwich officials say they fired the city's recreation director over allegations he made personal use of city equipment, allowed drinking of beer at adult softball games on city property and invited family members to a staff party in a …
This morning, drivers need to be cautious as falling snow overspreads Connecticut.
Nurses and technicians who have been locked out in a labor dispute with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London have learned that state law does not protect them from losing health care coverage.
It's been a painful and frenetic year for all of Newtown, Conn.
A Stamford man was arrested after allegedly threatening to blow up Bristol City Hall, police said.
A Stamford homeowner credits a bird for saving his life as his house exploded.
The Department of Defense says the remains of an Air Force colonel from New Haven missing during the Vietnam War have been identified and will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Two men charged with supporting terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya are due to appear in a federal court in Connecticut.