Longtime priest sentenced for stealing from parish

Longtime priest sentenced for stealing from parish

A longtime pastor at St. Helena, a Romanian Catholic Church, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday morning, for stealing money from the parish and an elderly Cleveland Heights woman.

Fr. Andrew Matthews was also ordered to pay restitution. He stole $176,000 from the Church and more than $100,000 from the elderly woman. The woman was a parishioner and he acted as her power of attorney and had access to her bank accounts.

Some of the money Fr. Matthews stole went to pay credit card bills, buy cars and pay college tuition for a family member.

Parishioners showed up to the court hearing and urged the judge to impose a stiff sentence.

Fr. Matthews, 54, apologized to parishioners saying he wanted God to help him purify his heart. He now says he realizes what he did was wrong.

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