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Fla. priest accused of theft pleads guilty

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - One of two priests accused of
embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Delray Beach
church has pleaded guilty.

Monsignor John Skehan pleaded guilty to bilking parishioners at
St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church. The 81-year-old Skehan, who had
been at the church 40 years, had been accused of taking $370,000
between 2001 and 2006. Church auditors, however, believe the figure
stolen over the years was in the millions.

Skehan and the Rev. Francis Guinan had been charged with
stealing to fund lavish lifestyles in what authorities say could be
one of the biggest embezzlement cases to hit the U.S. Catholic
Church. Prosecutors say the priests plucked cash from the offering
plate and spent it on upscale homes, gambling trips to Las Vegas
with a mistress, even a $275,000 rare coin collection.

Guinan's trial has been delayed until next month.


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