The Diocese of Las Vegas announced today that it learned that Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe has entered into a plea agreement with the United States government. This is in conjunction with an F.B.I. investigation of Monsignor McAuliffe's handling of finances at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The Diocese was made aware of the investigation of Monsignor McAuliffe when it was approached by federal investigators.
The Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, said today that the Diocese and the parish have been cooperating fully with federal authorities. "We respect the workings of the justice system and would add that the federal authorities have handled this matter with fairness and sensitivity," said Bishop Pepe.
Monsignor McAuliffe will no longer be pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church nor have any duties related to his positions at Diocesan offices. The Diocese has been fully engaged in the handling of this matter internally. It retained an independent certified public accounting firm to conduct a forensic financial audit and to review and enhance financial protocols at the parish.
"This situation has been extremely trying on everyone; parishioners, employees, volunteers, the community and me personally. No one should be above the law, especially someone who commands the public trust and violates that vow. I would like to thank the parishioners as well as the employees of St. Elizabeth for their patience and understanding. It goes without saying, that I am greatly saddened that all of the good and worthy actions that happen everyday within the Catholic community of Las Vegas, and particularly at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, may be overshadowed by this situation.
It is my deepest hope that we do not lose sight of our greater purpose in the midst of this matter, and that is to bring Christ's love and hope to others. I understand that the days and months ahead will be challenging for everyone and my thoughts and prayers are focused on maintaining the strong faith that is representative of the vibrant community," said Bishop Pepe.
Copyright 2011 FOX5. All rights reserved.