Pa. priest sentenced for taking $380K from parish

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest in central Pennsylvania will serve 11-1 /2 to 23 months behind bars for stealing more than $380,000 from his parish.

Authorities say 52-year-old former pastor Caesar Belchez transferred more than $190,000 from various accounts at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Bonneauville to an online stock account and more than $120,000 to a personal account.

Adams County Judge Michael George also ordered Belchez at Thursday’s hearing to make full restitution and serve 12 years of probation. He is eligible for work release while serving his sentence.

Belchez pleaded guilty in February to theft and access device fraud. He apologized for his actions before the sentencing.

The Diocese of Harrisburg said after his arrest that Belchez was barred from celebrating Mass and other duties.

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