Church thief jailed

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:32 PM

Joseph Finnigan, 73, was sentenced Monday to one year in jail without work release, four years' probation, and restitution and court fines totaling $120,000. Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Hulsing also ordered Finnigan to complete 250 hours of community service and gave him credit for $2,500 of what he owes for restitution.

Finnigan pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny over $20,000 on March 1.

Prior to the sentencing, Finnigan apologized for violating the trust of the parishioners and community. He also said he accepts full responsibility for his actions.

“I really honestly never imagined that I’d be in this position, but through my own fault I am,” the Grand Haven man said.

Finnigan worked for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for about 11 years before he was fired in November 2012. He admitted to taking money from collection plates in 2010 and 2011.

The Rev. William Langlois of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church addressed the court prior to Finnigan’s sentencing. Langlois said he has never experienced such a personal betrayal as he has through Finnigan’s actions, and has been hurt both "spiritually and emotionally."

“Not only has he betrayed me, but he has betrayed the Catholic Church at a time when some clergy have tarnished the good name of a church,” Langlois said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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