Delray priest guilty of theft - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Delray priest guilty of theft

  • Fox 29 Daily HeadlinesMore>>

  • 'It breaks my heart': Laura Bush calls family separation at border 'cruel,' 'immoral'

    'It breaks my heart': Laura Bush calls family separation at border 'cruel,' 'immoral'

    Monday, June 18 2018 1:43 AM EDT2018-06-18 05:43:51 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 1:43 AM EDT2018-06-18 05:43:51 GMT
    Former first lady Laura Bush speaks Friday, June 23, 2017, during "Stand-To," a summit held by the George W. Bush Institute focused on veteran transition, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Former first lady Laura Bush speaks Friday, June 23, 2017, during "Stand-To," a summit held by the George W. Bush Institute focused on veteran transition, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    The former first lady called on “good people at all levels of government” to stop the practice.

    More >>

    The former first lady called on “good people at all levels of government” to stop the practice.

    More >>
  • Ex-chief, officers allegedly framed teen for burglaries in FL

    Ex-chief, officers allegedly framed teen for burglaries in FL

    Thursday, June 14 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-06-14 17:46:03 GMT
    Thursday, June 14 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-06-14 17:46:03 GMT
    Ex-law enforcement officials allegedly arrested a teen for a crime he didn't commit in order to keep a perfect record for burglary cases. (Source: Raycom Media, file)Ex-law enforcement officials allegedly arrested a teen for a crime he didn't commit in order to keep a perfect record for burglary cases. (Source: Raycom Media, file)

    Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano, as well as officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez, were indicted by federal officials for "conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law."

    More >>

    Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano, as well as officers Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez, were indicted by federal officials for "conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law."

    More >>
  • North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup

    North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup

    Wednesday, June 13 2018 2:37 AM EDT2018-06-13 06:37:15 GMT
    Thursday, June 14 2018 11:42 AM EDT2018-06-14 15:42:47 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin). FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrives at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The congress in Moscow is set to choose the host or hosts for the...(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin). FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrives at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The congress in Moscow is set to choose the host or hosts for the...

    FIFA is preparing to choose between Morocco and a joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

    More >>

    FIFA is preparing to choose between Morocco and a joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

    More >>

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A local Catholic priest, accused of stealing nearly a half million dollars from his former parish in Delray Beach, is guilty, but of a lesser charge. After jurors reached their decision Monday, the judge ordered Father Francis Guinan taken into custody.

Jurors deliberated for two and a half hours before convicting Father Guinan of stealing between $20,000 and $100,000, a second degree felony. Guinan showed no emotion as the clerk announced the verdict, and as a deputy took Guinan's fingerprints. The theft crime carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The original charge was a first degree felony, which has a potential 30 year sentence.

"The priest breached the faith of those in his congregation," said prosecutor Preston Migdoll, following the hearing. "And we're pleased that the jury has found him to be accountable."

Guinan's lawyer Richard Barlow said his client was not happy, but thankful for the conviction on the lesser offense, rather than "as charged." Barlow saw a jury compromise in the decision. "This is kind of a message to both sides," said Barlow. "'We're not happy with you, Father Guinan, for spending the money, but we're not happy with the Diocese of the Palm Beaches either.'"

Barlow had argued the Diocese gave priests a so-called "right of discretion" to spend thousand of dollars as they saw fit, but with no written rules for doing so.

Prosecutors countered Guinan, as head of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Delray, had an obligation to spend the money for church objectives. Instead prosecutors said Guinan used the church's money for himself, including taking numerous gambling trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas.

Robert Blaine, a friend of Father Guinan's, called the decision unfair. "There were no guidelines, very broad rules, and those broad rules, without specific indications, he did what he thought he could do," said Blaine.

Linda Tomz, who attends a Catholic parish in Jupiter, feels Guinan is guilty of the more serious offense. "The man did wrong," exclaimed Tomz. "He committed an offense of grand theft. He stole from the parishioners. I feel in my heart, if he was a civilian, this would have been pressed further."

The Diocese issued a statement following the verdict saying it is "relieved that the jurors were not swayed by the inaccurate presentation of the defense."

While Judge Krista Marx ordered Guinan taken into custody, she left open the possibility the Sheriff's Office could let him out on house arrest until his sentencing March 25. The range of possible sentences goes from the maximum 15 years in prison, to probation, since Guinan has no priors.

Guinan's predecessor at St. Vincent, Father John Skehan, earlier entered a guilty plea on theft charges. His sentencing is also set for next month.

Powered by Frankly

1100 Banyan Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.