One Los Angeles nun proves that even members of the church can succumb to the vices of gambling and thievery.
After stealing more than $800,000 to pay for her gambling habit, Mary Margaret Kreuper agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Kreuper admitted to stealing about $835,000 in donations, tuition and fees over the span of a decade during her 28-year tenure as principal of St. James Catholic School in suburban Los Angeles.
The 79-year-old nun “controlled accounts at a credit union, including a savings account for the school and one established to pay the living expenses of the nuns employed by the school,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
What’s worse? This nun who neglected her vow of poverty also admitted to using a portion of the money to pay for personal expenses including credit card charges and “large gambling expenses incurred at casinos,” the attorney’s office added.
But this sister’s unlawfulness — and her sin — won’t come without a price.
The AP reported that Kreuper’s actions could land her up to 40 years in federal prison.
Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, agreed to plead guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. The federal charges carry a maximum prison term of 40 years. https://t.co/9TIkl9OXXh #USRC pic.twitter.com/SgpqRWiWId
— Top U.S. & World News? (@USRealityCheck) June 10, 2021
A statement provided by Kreuper’s attorneys hinted at the retired principal’s mental health as a potential reason for her criminal activity.
“Unfortunately, later in her life she has been suffering from a mental illness that clouded her judgment and caused her to do something that she otherwise would not have done,” the statement said. “She is very sorry for any harm she has caused.”
Kreuper has reportedly been cooperating with law enforcement, as well as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Her gamble with the truth proved to be a loss in the long run. But her actions also prove that, at the end of the day, nuns, monks and people of the clergy are still human. They still fall victim to the same sin and vices as everyone else.
Of course, her poor decisions are now coming back to haunt her, and the metaphorical stain this leaves on the church is unignorable.
Christians are expected to set an example of diligence and righteousness. When a nun sworn to the service of the church neglects her vows, it inadvertently reflects on the entire religious community as well.
We cannot blame the church for the actions of one woman, nor can we say her actions are representative of other church members. But we also can’t brush off Kreuper’s corrupt practices. Abusing one’s position and stealing are never actions Christians should aim to emulate.
Kreuper’s case reiterates two necessary truths: Looks can be deceiving and sin is inescapable for any human living in today’s fallen world.
This sister has already confessed to her sins, and now she’ll pay her penance. But members of the church would do well to learn from her predicament — imitating, instead, the one who was without sin.
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