Religious sisters may have spent embezzled money on travel and casinos

Two sisters who retired from St. James Catholic School in Torrance earlier this year told parents school was operating on a shoestring budget, while allegedly embezzling as much as $500,000

See previous CalCatholic story, "Religious sisters found to have stolen money from Redondo Beach Catholic school" Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring … [Read more...]

Religious sisters found to have stolen money from Redondo Beach Catholic school

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet misappropriated funds for their personal use over a period of years while working at St. James School; order promises to reimburse the school

An internal investigation by a Redondo Beach Catholic parish has found that two longtime nuns who worked at the St. James School misappropriated a “substantial” amount of school funds for their personal use over a period of years, according to a letter sent to school families Wednesday. Msgr. Michael Meyers, the pastor at St. James Catholic Church, said in the letter that the … [Read more...]

Threats force closure of Catholic school in Chula Vista

Arrest made in phone threats made against St. Rose of Lima Parish

A 61-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of threatening the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Chula Vista, police said. The man allegedly called the H Street church about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and threatened to hurt people who were planning on attending an All Saints Day Mass. Four such services were scheduled for Thursday, authorities said. Chula Vista officers … [Read more...]

Vandals target Old Mission Santa Barbara again

Deface pillars with 3-foot-high graffiti, splatter paint on front door and walkway; statue of St. Junipero Serra removed last year after someone poured red paint over it and cut off its head

Vandals caused more than $25,000 in damage to the Old Mission Santa Barbara overnight, scrawling “rape” on several pillars and misspelling the word “genocide” with red paint on the stone front of the historic building. At least one vandal broke a small window and splattered red paint on the front door and the walkway leading up to the church. The person also wrote “never … [Read more...]

Fresno bishop’s letter to judge who sentenced priest convicted of embezzlement

Bishop Armando Ochoa requests no jail time for Fr. Ignacio Villafan, expresses hope that errant priest will someday return to active ministry "under direct supervision with no access to funds"

August 9, 2018 Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, on August 8 spoke at the sentencing hearing for Rev Ignacio Villafan.  Fr. Villafan was sentenced to five years probation.   To The Most Honorable Judge Gary Peden Your Honor, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to personally address the Court in the wake of the … [Read more...]

Tulare priest gets probation for stealing $300,000 from parish

Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa says diocese using "restorative justice" approach for Fr. Ignacio Villafan, who remains on administrative leave

Catholic priest Ignacio Villafan, 52, was sentenced Wednesday to five years probation for stealing over $300,000 from the Tulare church where he served as the pastor in charge, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said. The sentence by Judge Gary Paden is too lenient because Villafan is not going to jail, District Attorney Tim Ward said. “To think that a person could … [Read more...]

Suspect arrested in vandalism, arson at St. Charles Borromeo Church

investigators pulled security camera footage from buildings surrounding the church

Los Angeles police said this week they arrested a man they believe set three fires inside St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood and a fourth just outside the church’s doors last week that caused extensive damage to the iconic building. In a written statement, officials said 58-year-old Russel Congleton was arrested on Monday by a task force of LAPD investigators. The … [Read more...]

Landmark North Hollywood church vandalized

Cardinal Roger Mahony lives on grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Church, which suffered “a large amount of property damage”

Parishioners of a prominent Catholic church in North Hollywood were searching for answers Wednesday, July 25, after their beloved sanctuary was severely vandalized before dawn. Authorities were asking for the public’s help in solving the crime after the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division found evidence of fire outside St. Charles Borromeo Church and “a … [Read more...]

“We have risen from the ashes”

New Hacienda Heights church replaces one destroyed in 2011 arson fire; site for 90th parish in Fresno diocese blessed June 22 in Clovis

Hacienda Heights, California - More than seven years after St. John Vianney Catholic Church burned down at the hands of an arsonist, it has arisen like Lazarus. The new parish, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road, Hacienda Heights, was dedicated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jun 23. Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over the service to dedicate the new parish with Monsignor Timothy Nichols, … [Read more...]

Arrest made in Southern California church fires, vandalism

Most recent arson fires occurred at Resurrection Catholic Church in Los Angeles on Jan. 25 and the Church of the Angels in Pasadena on Jan. 13

A 25-year-old man accused of setting fires at churches around Southern California was charged this week with multiple felony counts. Christian Michael Garcia faces 20 felony counts: 13 counts of vandalism of religious property, three counts of arson of a structure, two counts of second-degree commercial burglary and one count each of attempted second-degree robbery and arson … [Read more...]