LA archdiocese to press charges against sisters accused of embezzlement

While the archdiocese initially announced that it would not press charges in the case, an archdiocesan spokesman said Monday afternoon that the archdiocese will become a “complaining party” in the case

St. James Catholic School in Torrance on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. An internal investigation at the school found that two nuns who worked there allegedly misappropriated a “substantial” amount of funds for personal use over a period of years, the school announced recently. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will file a criminal complaint against religious sisters who have been accused of embezzling from a Catholic school at which they had worked for more than a decade.

Sr. Mary Margaret Kreuper, CSJ and Sr. Lana Chang, CSJ, who both retired this year from St. James Catholic School in Torrance, are alleged to have misappropriated nearly $500,000 from the school.

They are suspected of using the money for gambling, trips, and other personal expenses.

While the archdiocese initially said that it would not press charges in the case, an archdiocesan spokesman told CNA Monday afternoon that the archdiocese will become a “complaining party” in the case.

In a Dec. 11 statement, the Sisters of St. Joseph announced that they would not defend the actions of Krueper and Chang.

St. James Catholic School’s former principal, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, and former teacher Sister Lana Chang. (image from KTLA5)

“What happened is wrong. Our Sisters take full responsibility for the choices they made and are subject to the law.”

A Nov. 28 letter from St. James Parish pastor Msgr. Michael Meyers announced that after an internal investigation discovered the embezzlement, the sisters’ congregation “has agreed to arrange for full restitution for the benefit of the School of the funds that are found to have been misappropriated and is imposing appropriate penalties and sanctions on each of the Sisters in accordance with the policies of the Order.”

Some parents at the school alleged that the sisters often took gambling trips to Las Vegas. Krueper has a P.O. Box and a prior address in Las Vegas, according to The Beach Reporter.

Lori Barr, a former principal of St. Paul School in Santa Fe Springs, California, was sentenced in 2015 to 180 days in county jail for stealing $64,000 from the school, which is owned and operated by the Los Angeles archdiocese. Barr was discovered to have made charges on the school’s American Express card, making purchases from Disneyland, Tiffany & Co, United Airlines, and Victoria’s Secret, among others.

Barr paid restitution to the archdiocese before she was sentenced, and apologized to school and diocesan officials.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Comments

  1. Aren”t there a few clergy ahead of them in line they charge civilly?

  2. Matthew de San Luis Obispo says:

    This is only fair. Had the archdiocese not pressed charges, it would have put Gomez’s leadership under question.

  3. Lock them up!

  4. Have the sisters been arrested? They committed felony grand larceny. Take away their passports if they have them because their religious order is international and could scurry them out of the country to live out their retirements in another place to avoid prosecution. I don’t put that past the Carondelet sisters.

  5. Sounds like the L.A. Archdiocese is abandoning the religious sisters. Maybe the sisters are not sufficiently high-ranking” to warrant a transfer or other form of cover-up.

  6. The laity are fed up with Church scandals. We are not going to take it anymore. Some of us are angry enough to take matters into our own hands.

  7. Victoria’s Secret!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That is a good one!

    • Victoria’s Secret, skimpy panties and black bras. The possibility of a special “relationship” between the two that was put forward by a commenter here at the CCD when the news broke now makes sense, doesn’t it?

      • The purchases from Victoria’s Secret were made by Lori Barr, a former principal of St. Paul School in Santa Fe Springs, California. It was a separate, but similar, case mentioned at the end of the article. Barr spent 180 days in the county jail.

  8. Gambling? Tiffany’s? Victoria’s Secret??

  9. Sounds like there was enough backlash that Gomez was pressured into changing his original plan not to prosecute, and will now prosecute. So, in the end, nothing in LA has changed, only that Gomez is a lesser version of Mahoney.

  10. As much as an “internal agreement and resolution” would be desirable for the LAAD, in these days of covering for folks being so unpopular, they have no choice but full court press. Sorry ladies.

    And who says if women ran the Church, all would be well?

    • Fault…churches are like non profits, governments or business when they fail to provide oversight you will get a fox in the hen house and they will get away with their mischief! For all those volunteering to serve on non profit boards, beware, as cost cutting on audits will not if but when have advantage taken. No oversight = opportunity cost. As the failure to monitor opens the door to whomever, priest, nun, civic leader even a President.
      This is not about politics but if you sign up for participating in an organization and do not do your due diligence of those minding the store you WILL find yourself complicit. If the Treasurer or CFO or Church leader does not speak to TRUTH in such a way as to make the information understandable…

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