- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest is scheduled to appear in court to answer to charges that he stole more than $230,000 from the Northborough parish where he served as pastor to support a gambling habit.

The Rev. Stephen Gemme, former pastor of St. Bernadette, faces arraignment in Worcester Superior Court on Wednesday following his indictment by a grand jury last week on five counts of larceny by a common scheme over $250.

The Worcester Diocese announced last October that Gemme had stolen from two accounts since 2008.

The thefts went undetected until a member of the school’s advisory board flagged a financial irregularity in a school account and informed Worcester Bishop Robert McManus.

Gemme acknowledged a gambling problem and offered his resignation, which was accepted, according to a letter from McManus to parishioners.

Gemme was granted a medical leave of absence and placed in residential treatment.

It appeared that Gemme used more than $110,000 in school funds and more than $120,000 of parish funds “for personal expenditures unrelated to the parish or school,” McManus wrote.

Gemme’s lawyer, Carol Wheeler, said she could not comment on the specifics of the case.

“There’s been no discovery. I haven’t seen what evidence they have,” she said.

McManus said despite the seriousness of the allegations, parishioners should remember all the good Gemme has done.

A spokesman for the diocese said Gemme does not currently have the authority to perform any priestly duties.

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