Police officers have accused a nun of stealing more than $100,000 from two churches in western New York. Sister Mary Anne Rapp is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to address the charges.
According to Buffalo News, the money was stolen from two churches in rural parishes between Buffalo and Rochester. Rapp has worked at both churches.
Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone said that the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo believes that the nun may have a gambling problem.
“This is a situation that was brought to our attention by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and has been under investigation for months by the [Orleans County] Sheriff’s Office … It’s not a situation where the sister has been living an extravagant life. I think there are indications that she has a gambling problem.”
Police believe that the nun pocketed money that was donated by parishioners. The Buffalo News notes that nuns have been accused and charged for theft before, but Cardone said that this is the first time he has ever had to prosecute a nun.
“I’ve been district attorney since 1992, and I don’t remember ever prosecuting a nun for anything. I would hate to call a case like this a sign of the times. I think there were incidents that happened in years past that were handled in a different way. I’d like to think we’re more transparent about these things than we were years ago.”
Terrence M. Connors, the lead attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, said that the theft was discovered after a new Reverend came into the church. Rev. Mark J. Noonan, pastor of the two churches, requested an audit and found that the church was short $100,000.
“This was a situation where a new pastor came in and requested an audit by the Diocese audit committee. The audit turned up some irregularities, which we then reported to the Orleans County DA, so his staff could determine whether criminal charges were warranted.”