73-year-old deacon steals $120,000 from church

10:57 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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Joseph Finnigan

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) - A lakeshore deacon accused of stealing money from collection plates at his church has pleaded guilty. Joseph Finnigan, 73, was fired from his job at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church last year.

Finnigan entered guilty pleas to two counts of larceny after telling the judge he deposited church funds into his personal account in 2010 and 2011. A third felony charge was dropped by prosecutors in exchange for the guilty pleas.

Carl Apple, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Grand Rapids says rebuilding trust with parishioners will take work.

"You want them to know that their money is safe and that is up to each individual parishioners. We hope that something like this, the legal system running its course as much as it did today-- that maybe some of that trust is rebuilt," said Apple. 

Finnegan is ordered to pay the church back $120,000 before his sentencing on April 22.

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