Gambling-Addicted Nun Robs Churches of $128K
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Sister Mary Anne Rapp may have said her fair share of Hail Marys over the last few years, but she's now facing judgment day in court. The Buffalo-based nun, who had worked in the area for the last 50 years, is facing grand larceny charges after reportedly stealing $128,000 from St. Mary and St. Mark congregations and using the money to fund her gambling addiction. Kevin Keenan, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, says the thefts took place from 2006-2010—but a new pastor, who conducted a routine audit, noticed irregularities and turned them over to a county prosecutor. Rapp was placed on leave from her position as pastoral associate in February 2011 and fired that April. Once she was removed from her position, she agreed to get help for her addiction and spent 9.5 months at an inpatient facility. She has since been abstinent from gambling. "These are smaller parishes in a rural part of the diocese," says Keenan. "Regardless of the size (of the church), this would be a significant amount of money for any parish." The Sisters of St. Francis, of which Rapp is a member, say they do not condone her actions but continue to pray for her while she battles addiction. Rapp, who was expected to plead not guilty at an initial court appearance last night, isn't the first holy roller with a casino problem: earlier this year, a Las Vegas priest swindled over $650,000 from his parish to support his gambling addiction.