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You’ve heard the expression “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” right? Well, it seems it’s not as simple as that. Sometimes, what happens in Vegas can land you in prison.


Just ask Pastor Kevin McAuliffe.


Until recently, Monsignor McAuliffe served St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Catholic Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. But in late 2011, the pastor pled guilty to federal charges of stealing money from the church. The mission fund was drained. The gift shop account was depleted. Even the money set aside for votive candles was stolen! In all, about $650,000 went missing.


That’s a lot of votive candles!


As it turns out, for almost a decade, Msgr. McAuliffe siphoned off the church like a priestly parasite. Of course, the parishioners were devastated when they heard the news, but held out hope that his theft was of the Robin Hood nature – you know, robbing from the rich to give to the poor.


Aldo Aguirre, one of the church’s members, said, “I would feel a sense of betrayal if we get the truth that it was taken for bad or personal gain, but I just know that’s not it.”


Aldo wouldn’t have to wait long to find out the truth. Within days of the investigation, McAuliffe’s attorney issued a statement that informed the church of the motive behind their pastor’s theft: a gambling addiction. McAuliffe had used thousands from the stolen funds to support his addiction to video poker – a vice that had already put him in treatment.


Gloria Devlin, another church member offered a gracious response to the horrible news. “My heart still goes out to him. It’s said that those who have no sin can cast the first stone.”


While it’s true that Jesus does say those words in John 8:7, one only needs to look a mere four verses later – within the same story – to find these words of Jesus: “leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).


McAuliffe knew this and yet did not live accordingly. Sadly, his actions – along with so many other ministry leaders – have brought embarrassment to Christ and His Church.


But what do you expect from a town called Sin City?



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Topics Illustrated Include:
Bad News
Jesus’ Teachings
Poor Leadership

(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)