Two nuns who worked at a Catholic School in California allegedly stole about $500,000 from the school, which they used to go on trips and to gamble at casinos in Las Vegas.
Officials representing St. James Catholic School in Torrence, CA recently informed parents that money given to the school for tuition, donations, and fees had been embezzled by the two nuns for at least ten years.
Both of the nuns retired this year. One of the nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, has been the principal of the school for about 28 years. The other nun, Sister Lana Chang, taught eighth grade for about 20 years.
Their criminal enterprise was discovered this year when a family at the school asked for a copy of an old check they had written to the school. According to a report by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, when staff members found the check, they realized it had not been deposited into St. James’s account but a different bank account.
Monsignor Michael Meyers, of the St. James Church associated with the school, spoke before a crowd of a few hundred people, explaining the situation. He told the crowd that when confronted about the matter, the nuns admitted that they stole the money. Meyers said that the nuns had both expressed remorse, but considering that they engaged in this scheme for more than a decade, that seems pretty hollow.
A team of auditors who investigated the matter described how the scheme was pulled off. Kreuper handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees before handing them over to the bookkeeping staff for processing. Kreuper allegedly withheld some of the checks and deposited them into the other account, endorsing the back with a stamp that read, “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School.”
Meyers wrote in a letter to parents that, "Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers,” according to local reports. “They and their order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school."
Yeah, fat chance. Once again, members of the Catholic Church show off just how moral they are.
Despite the Archdiocese of Los Angeles reporting the theft to the Torrance Police Department, they are not pursuing criminal charges. The archdiocese reportedly wants to handle the matter internally. And the nuns' order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has apparently agreed to reimburse the school for the money the sisters stole.
This particular church community was still recovering from a tragic night four years ago, when four people were killed, including a six-year-old boy, when a drunk woman drove her car into a crowd leaving the St. James Christmas concert.
Overall, many of the parents feel extremely betrayed and upset. One parent, Jack Alexander, told reporters, “We were an ATM, and people know it and they won’t ask for justice."
Another parent, Denise Sur, put her four children through the school. She said in an interview that, “The archdiocese and our parish leadership has to be held accountable for the poor process as well as what occurred," referring to the delay in the release of many details.
The nuns explained their frequent trips and casino visits by telling people they "had a rich uncle," but as Jack Alexander told reporters, "The 'rich uncle' was the parents of the St. James students.”
These nuns clearly knew what they were doing, knew it was wrong, and should be held accountable in some way. Instead, the nuns' order is going to pay off the school and the church will just try to sweep it under the rug. This is the kind of corruption you get from the members of the Catholic Church, apparently at every level of its infrastructure.