The following is a press release from Bishop Robert F. Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa:
Father Oscar Diaz, who served most recently as pastor at Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa was involved in an automobile accident on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. He suffered a fractured hip, underwent surgery and is recovering from this surgery. Thank you for all your prayers for his wellbeing and recovery.
Unfortunately, it is my sad duty to announce that the accident uncovered a prolonged history of theft. At the time of the accident the EMT responders found bags of money in his car. These were the Security Bags used for Parish Collections. The police were alerted on Wednesday evening and they immediately contacted me, the bishop. I asked them to take custody of the cash and to account for it for possible criminal prosecution. Some days later, when the money was turned over to the Diocese, it was counted and found to total $18,305.86. This money was associated with Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa where Father Oscar was pastor. After an initial investigation and several interviews, the police determined that the protocols surrounding collection accounting would make it difficult to arrive at sufficient proof of theft to pursue criminal prosecution.
After the initial discovery of the money in Father Oscar’s car further investigation and search revealed that he had an additional $77,000 in cash which had apparently been stolen from the parishes where he served. There is also evidence that money was stolen in a variety of ways from each of the Parishes where he had served as pastor. I am deeply grieved that this has happened and am deeply saddened that the parishes he was sent to serve have been harmed.
The full extent of the theft is not known and may never be fully known but the Diocese is committed to determining as fully as possible the extent of the theft from each of these parishes. Once such determinations are made it is the goal of the Diocese to make restitution to the parishes.
Father Oscar is presently suspended from priestly ministry. There are no plans at this time for ministry in the Church and his future is uncertain.
From Diocese of Santa Rosa.
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