Monsignor charged with stealing more than $500,000 from Archdiocese

Thursday, April 6, 2017
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Monsignor charged with stealing: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at noon on April 6.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia monsignor is charged with stealing more than half a million dollars from the Catholic Church.

He was in charge of the money that was donated to benefit a home for retired priests, but instead, federal authorities allege, he made off with more than a half million dollars to live the high life and go to casinos to gamble.

Eric Massey of Southwest Philadelphia said, "It's a slap in the face. You're talking about preaching all these good deeds and helping other people out. And being kind and generous, helping your fellow man."

The Villa St.Joseph in Darby is a retirement home for priests who have given their life to the ministry. But it also houses some priests who have been accused of committing sexual abuse.

Parishioners have donated millions over the years to maintain the home. But now there is word from federal prosecutors that the man in charge of allocating the funds, Msgr. William Dumbrow diverted more than a half million dollars for his own personal use.

Among other things, they say the 77-year-old used the money to attend Philadelphia Pops concerts, to go gambling at Harrah's Casino in Chester, and to pay for lavish dinners.

In all they say he allegedly pocketed $535,258.11 over the course of nine years before the bank caught on to him and alerted the Archdiocese.

In a statement, the Archdiocese says it immediately froze the account, suspended Msgr. Dumbrow's faculties and his administrative responsibilities were restricted. They also contacted the feds.

"When you're going in basically and exploiting your former parishioners and stuff like that, just to gamble at a casino. It's disingenuous," said Massey.

One of the checks that Dumbrow is accused of pocketing is for $14,410.29.

It came from the estate of the late Francis P. Rogers. He was one of the priests listed in the grand jury's archdiocese sex scandal report. He was accused of sexually abusing a number of children.

Msgr. Dumbrow's attorney Coley Reynolds says his client spent his life serving the church and unfortunately got caught up in this.

He also stated that Dumbrow takes full responsibility for his actions and intends to enter a guilty plea.

Outside of a plea deal, Dumbrow could face up to 80 years in prison.


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