Orleans County: Nun admits stealing $128,000; faces jail time

The Daily News, New York/April 9, 2013

Albion - A Catholic nun faces up to six months in jail after she admitted in Orleans County Court Monday to stealing $128,000 from two churches where she served.

Sister Mary Anne Rapp, 68, first waived her right to a grand jury proceeding before accepting the plea deal offered to her by District Attorney Joseph Cardone.

Rapp pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and quietly admitted that she stole about $128,000 from St. Mary's Church in Holley and St. Mark's Church in Kendall.

Rapp stole the money from March 2006 to April 2011.

She told Judge James Punch that she was not sure of the exact amount.

Rapp was offered a deal that would see her receive no more than six months in jail and that would require her to pay "reasonable restitution," which would be worked out at a later date.

Rapp was arrested in November after an Orleans County sheriff's investigation that began several months earlier when discrepancies were found during an internal audit at the churches.

Father Mark Noonan ordered what is called a "new pastor" audit when he became pastor of the two churches in the summer of 2010.

Rapp, a nun for nearly 50 years, served both churches and has told investigators that she stole the money to feed a gambling addiction.

She was placed on leave from her order in 2011 and agreed to seek treatment.

Rapp and church officials cooperated during the investigation, something Punch noted in court, telling Rapp that she was given the deal because of a lack of criminal history "and your response to the crime, among other factors."

It is possible Rapp could receive no jail time. If Punch decides to sentence her to more than six months, Rapp could withdraw her plea.

She originally was charged with second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The fourth-degree charge is punishable by up to four years.

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