The Chicago Criminal Law Blog - Find a Chicago Criminal Attorney

John Regan Gets 60 Days for Church Theft

First Carolyn Towns gets busted for selling occupied cemetery plots to feed her gambling addiction. Now, Reverend John Regan gets busted for church theft after he was found guilty of stealing nearly $300,000 from St. Walter Parish to feed his gambling addiction.

A self-described "action gambler," the Catholic priest frequented suburban riverboat casinos where he would test his faith in craps and blackjack, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. But earning only $25,000 a year as a pastor at St. Walter, Regan needed additional funds to keep gaming.

So he allegedly stole $295,000 of church money by funneling the dough into a special fund he created and withdrawing that money at river boat casino ATMs, reports the Sun-Times. The priest apparently snuck out of the rectory in the middle of the night and threw his parishioners' money away at games of chance.

Regan was accused of felony theft. As Regan stole the money from a place of worship, he could have faced class X felony charges and 30-year prison term. However, the Sun-Times reports that he only faced 15 years in jail which would have been consistent with a class 1 felony charge for thefts not occurring at a place of worship.

If the Sun-Times report is correct, it's unclear why prosecutors did not seek the higher penalties for a theft occurring at a place of worship.

Still, it may not matter as Reverend John Regan was sentenced to only 60 days in jail for the church theft. Perhaps he will face a harsher penalty by a higher power.

Related Resources: