More Merced, California, troubles

More Merced, California, troubles

Remember the story of Fr. Jean Michael Lastiri, the priest in the Diocese of Fresno, who was caught by parishioners allegedly soliciting for gay sex on web sites? He was eventually forced out of his pastorship by the bishop, but only after the issue got national attention. Even then, when Lastiri was supposed to be at a counseling center across the country, he was seen in his hometown going about his business. Meanwhile, his parish had been torn apart by pro- and anti-Lastiri factions with all kinds of harassment and accusations flying around.

Well, the sordid mess is far from over. Now it appears that there is a financial aspect to this scandal. According to internal auditing, a whole lot of parish money is not accounted for with Lastiri writing himself very large checks out of various accounts. One of the big shockers was $53,000 in the pastor/priest-in-residence travel fund! That’s a whole lot traveling.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli