A Roman Catholic priest who served as the face of the church in New Hampshire during the sex abuse scandal was granted parole Tuesday on two of his convictions for stealing $300,000 from a hospital, a bishop and a dead priest’s estate. But he’ll still serve at least two more years in jail to complete his full sentence.
Monsignor Edward Arsenault pleaded guilty to three theft charges in 2014. He was granted parole on the first two charges but will not be eligible for parole on the third for two more years.
Prosecutors said Arsenault, who has also been ordered to repay the money, billed the church for lavish meals and travel for himself and often a male partner. He was convicted of writing checks from the dead priest’s estate to himself and his brother and billing Catholic Medical Center $250 an hour for consulting work he never did.
Arsenault held senior positions in the New Hampshire diocese from 1999 to 2009. He had been the top lieutenant for then-Bishop John McCormack, handling both a clergy sexual abuse crisis in New Hampshire and orchestrating the church’s new child protection policies.
In 2009, Arsenault became president and CEO of Saint Luke Institute in Maryland. He resigned in 2013 as allegations arose over the misuse of church funds.
The investigation did not involve Saint Luke, a prominent education and counseling center based in Silver Spring, Maryland, with sites in other parts of the United States and in Britain. The center treats priests with a range of mental illnesses and has played a key role in addressing the problem of sexually abusive clergy.
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