Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'Monsignor Meth' Pleads Guilty to US Federal Drug Charge


Monsignor Kevin Wallin speaking at the Catholic Centre of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2006
Photo courtesy: AP



Monsignor Kevin Wallin (61), a Catholic priest, of Waterbury in Connecticut, USA, pleaded guilty April 2 in Hartford to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute four pounds of methamphetamine (meth) drug. He had made more than $300,000 in sales from his Connecticut apartment where he was living a retired life. He also owned and ran an adult video and sex toy shop in North Haven to launder his ill-earned money. He is to be sentenced in late June. He is likely to receive 10 or more years of prison term, reports the New York Daily News. Father Wallin himself had problem with drug addiction. A local newspaper gave him the epithet 'Monsignor Meth,' as he traded in drugs.

Prosecutors said the priest had his accomplices in California mail this drug to him, who then sold it to others from his apartment. Three of his accomplices have already been arrested.

Father Wallin was arrested in January this year. After receiving information that he sells drugs, an undercover officer purchased meth from him six times between September 20 of last year to January 2 this year and paid more than $3,400 in total for 23 grams of this drug. US federal agents also used wiretaps, surveillance and informants to monitor the operation.

As a priest, Father Wallin served St. Augustine parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June of 2011 mentioning his health and personal reasons. Previously he had served in another parish in Danbury. He was ordained a priest in 1984. According to The Connecticut Post, this priest “served as the secretary to two Bridgeport bishops – Walter W. Curtis and Edward Egan, now a Cardinal.”

Father Wallin was living his retired life in the apartment. In May of 2012, when the Diocesan officials came to know of some of his other problems including “sexually inappropriate behavior with other men in the church rectory,” he was suspended from public ministry, but still he was a priest. Brian D. Wallace, the diocesan spokesman, said the diocese was not aware of Wallin’s involvement with drugs business when he was suspended by the Diocese. Now  Father Wallin faces removal from priesthood by the Vatican.

After the guilty plea, the Diocese of Bridgeport, in a statement said: “Msgr. Wallin’s guilty plea represents an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others. It is a difficult moment for all of us but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward a healing and wholeness.”

Why do Catholics need to know of such sad stories?

Some Catholics are allergic to learning of scandalous and sad incidents of Catholic Church personnel and try to be defensive unnecessarily and unsuccessfully. They need to be realistic and be ready to cope with the situation.

Catholics need to know these to come out of their stupor that all that looks good, all that sweet talk and “pious” demeanor may also contain the opposite elements.

They need to learn lessons from other respected Church personnels’ missteps, mistakes, omissions and also commissions.

They need to be alert so that they don’t fall prey to such persons.

As Jesus Christ preached the Good News, he also did not forget to mention the bad news. In his parables, he speaks of disobedience of the younger son to his father and leaving home in arrogance and returning home as a penitent. Jesus also speaks of robbery in the Good Samaritan story. He speaks of seeds falling on good ground as well as on infertile and rocky ground bearing no fruits. Jesus always chided the Pharisees and Scribes for their hypocritical behavior. 

The cloak of silence and keeping public Church personnel's persistent bad behaviour secret, breeds more bad behaviour and a lot of damages to the ordinary faithful.
  

Bookmark and Share