Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A formerly 'compassionate priest' is arrested in crystal meth case

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A former priest is among five people indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Monsignor Kevin Wallin, who resigned as pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport, Connecticut in June 2011, was arrested earlier this month. He was charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute crystal meth.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Wallin is accused of receiving shipments of crystal meth from a California distributor. He is also accused of selling it to an undercover officer six times between September 2012 and January 2013. If convicted, Wallin faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million.

According to the Diocese of Bridgeport, the 61-year-old Wallin resigned from his post after nine years. He told parishioners "that he was struggling with a number of health and personal issues," and was granted a sabbatical.

The Monsignor had apparently gone on sabbatical prior to stepping down as St. Augustine's pastor. During that time, he stopped talking with his Diocese, worrying his fellow priests.

"As a result, his faculties for public ministry were suspended in May 2012, and he has not been reassigned," the Diocese of Bridgeport's statement read. "To date, he has not spoken directly with diocesan officials, though the Diocese stands ready to help as it has throughout the past two years. We ask for prayers for Msgr. Wallin during the difficult days ahead for him."

During his long career as a priest, Wallin, 61, served as pastor of St. Peter Parish in Danbury from 1996 to 2002 and was an aide to Bishops Walter Curtis and Edward Egan, according to The Connecticut Post. Egan later became a Cardinal.

 "During his sabbatical, the diocese became concerned about Msgr. Wallin's wellbeing and have continued to reach out to him," the diocese said in a statement. "To date, he has not spoken directly with diocesan officials."

Wallin has been described as "a gifted, accomplished and compassionate priest," adding that his arrest comes with "a sense of shock and concern."

Kenneth Devries, a 52-year-old from Waterbury, Connecticut, Michael Nelson, 40, from Manchester, Connecticut, Chad McCluskey, 43, from San Clemente, California; and Kristen Laschober, 47, from Laguna Niguel, California, were also arrested in connection to the alleged drug ring.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)