CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The former leader of one of the nation's top clergy treatment centers plans to plead guilty in New Hampshire to stealing at least $4,500 from a hospital, a deceased priest's estate and the state's Roman Catholic Bishop, prosecutors said Monday.
Msgr. Edward Arsenault held several senior positions in the New Hampshire diocese from 1999 to 2009 before becoming president and CEO of Saint Luke Institute in Maryland in 2009. He resigned from that job in May when authorities said they were investigating allegations involving an inappropriate adult relationship and misuse of church funds.
The attorney general's office said Monday that Arsenault had waived indictment and will plead guilty to three felony theft charges involving the bishop, the estate of a Manchester priest who died in 2010, and Manchester's Catholic Medical Center, where Arsenault had done consulting work.
The plea agreement calls for Arsenault to be sentenced to two consecutive sentences of 4-10 years in prison, with two years suspended from each because of his extensive cooperation. It will be considered by a judge at an April 23 hearing.
Arsenault's lawyer, Cathy Green, declined to comment. Officials with the diocese and the hospital also declined to comment on the details of the allegations, and prosecutors provided little information other than saying each theft exceeded $1,500 and providing a timeframe for the thefts.
They said Arsenault plans to plead guilty to stealing from the bishop between 2005 and 2013, from the hospital between 2009 and 2010 and from the estate of Msgr. John Molan between 2010 and 2012.
The investigation does not involve Saint Luke Institute, a prominent education and counseling center based in Silver Spring, Md., with sites in other parts of the U.S. 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.
In New Hampshire, Arsenault had been former Bishop John McCormack's top lieutenant, handling the clergy sexual abuse crisis and was responsible for the church's new child protection policies