A California priest was caught stealing at least $95,000 in church collections after bags of cash were found in a car crash — but he may not be charged, because of police “reluctance” to pursue a criminal probe, his diocese claims.
The Rev. Oscar Diaz, 56, fractured his hip in the crash in Santa Rosa last month — and responding EMT workers found more than $18,000 in parish collection security bags, his diocese told parishioners.
“Further investigation and search revealed that he had an additional $77,000 in cash which had apparently been stolen from the parishes where he served,” Bishop Robert Vasa said in a letter.
“There is also evidence that money was stolen in a variety of ways from each of the Parishes where he had served as pastor,” he added, saying he was “deeply grieved” and “saddened” by the “prolonged history of theft.”
“Father Oscar admitted that he had taken the Collection bags and had been doing so for some time,” the bishop said in another letter, saying Diaz had read and approved the church’s statements about the thefts.
“I expressed to him my deep sadness, anger and dismay,” the bishop wrote, insisting he was “determined” to prosecute.
But police are reluctant to pursue the case, the diocese claims.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Lee Brown