Photo Credit: The Sun
Two nuns, Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, reportedly stole about $500,000 from a Catholic school where they worked and used part of that money on flights to Las Vegas so they could gamble in casinos. St. James Catholic School in Torrance, California, conducted an internal investigation and revealed that Sisters Mary and Lana embezzled the money, skimming from the school’s tuition dues, other fees, and donations. Meanwhile, they were telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, officials and parents said.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni from St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach that the $500,000 figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions. An audio recording of the two-hour meeting was obtained by the Southern California News Group.
The apparent scandal came to light last week when the church’s small, K-8 school announced that it had notified police that Sister Mary Margaret Kreupe and Sister Lana Chang, who both had retired earlier this year, were “involved in the personal use of a substantial amount of school funds.” But the nuns had expressed remorse so the archdiocese and the church were not pursuing criminal charges.
Kreuper was the school’s principal, and Chang taught there.
“Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school,” the Order said in a statement. “The Sisters of St. Joseph both desire and intend to make complete restitution to St. James School.”
The sisters expressed deep remorse, officials said. When a parent asked what the money was spent on, the attorney said: “We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips, we do know they had a pattern of going to casinos, and the reality is, they used the account as their personal account.”
The funniest thing is that the parish alerted the Torrance Police Department, as Meyers wrote, but the Archdiocese does not intend to pursue criminal proceedings against the sisters. Instead, it “plans to have the Archdiocese, the School and the Order address the situation internally through the investigation, restitution and sanctions on the Sisters.”