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Former Top Official in NH Catholic Church Indicted

Edward J. Arsenault III has agreed to plead guilty and is expected to serve prison time.

Edward J. Arsenault III. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Edward J. Arsenault III. Source: Wikimedia Commons
A former senior official in the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire has agreed to plead guilty to charges that he stole from the Archdiocese.

Attorney General Joseph Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas announced in a press release that three waivers of indictment charging Edward J. Arsenault III with theft by unauthorized taking were filed Monday in the Hillsborough and Rockingham county superior courts.

The waivers state that between Jan. 1, 2005 and March 15, 2013, Arsenault committed the crime of theft by unauthorized taking by knowingly exercising unauthorized control over the property of the Bishop of Manchester. The aggregated amount of the theft exceeded $1,500.

Between Feb. 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, Arsenault is also alleged to have committed the crime of theft by unauthorized taking by knowingly exercising unauthorized control over the property of the Catholic Medical Center. Again, the aggregated amount of the theft exceeded $1,500.

The Rockingham County waiver alleges that between June 13, 2010 and Feb. 8, 2012, Arsenault committed the crime of theft by unauthorized taking by knowingly exercising unauthorized control over the property of the Estate of Reverend Monsignor John E. Molan. The aggregated amount of that theft also exceeded $1,500.

In addition to the waivers of indictment, Arsenault filed a notice of intent to enter a plea of guilty. The terms of the negotiated plea recommend that he be sentenced to 4 to 10 years in state prison for stealing from the Archdiocese, 4 to 10 years for stealing from Catholic Medical Center and 1 to 2 years for stealing from the Molan estate. He would also be required to pay full restitution to the victims.

A plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 23 at 9 a.m. in Hillsborough County Northern District Superior Court.

According to the Huffington Post, Arsenault resigned in May of 2013 from his position heading up the Saint Luke Institute in Maryland, a leading treatment center for clergy suffering from emotional, sexual and addiction problems following accusations that he misused funds in his home diocese and that he was engaged in an “inappropriate adult relationship.” He took over at St. Luke's in 2009 after a decade as a senior official in the Diocese of Manchester.

Catholic Medical Center issued a statement Monday saying that it asked the attorney general to review a contract for consulting service between the hospital and Arsenault last April in light of the discovery of evidence suggesting improper financial transactions by Arsenault using church funds.

"We look forward to a full public disclosure at the conclusion of the Attorney General’s investigation," the statement reads. "In the meantime, however, because this matter remains pending, we cannot comment any further. We are grateful to the Attorney General’s office for its thorough and ongoing efforts and CMC will continue to offer its full cooperation and support."

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