Thursday, July 16, 2020

Priest Indicted for Fraud, Jackson Diocese Settles with Feds

Note: I am working on this post right now but here are the indictment and a press release issued by the Diocese.  

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson issued the following statement. 

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson has entered into an agreement with federal prosecutors to tighten financial controls and bring to a conclusion an investigation stemming from the actions of one of its former pastors.

Over the last year and a half, federal authorities have conducted an investigation into events at the parish in Starkville and its mission in Macon that involved then Father Lenin Vargas. That investigation included federal authorities executing search warrants at those sites and at the offices of the Diocese in Jackson.

“During the course of the investigation, the Diocese has worked to bring forth the truth that would lead to a just resolution and reconciliation throughout our Catholic community,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz.

The Deferred Prosecution Agreement spells out a number of specific changes the Diocese is to undertake and maintain including:

  • Return of donations related to alleged fraudulent activities against parishioners
  • Undertake staff changes in the Accounting and Chancery Offices
  • Improvements in accounting for donations and priest spending
  • Formation of a new review board focusing on ethical conduct
  • Establish a fraud prevention hotline
  • Revise collection policies
  • Initiate formal penal process for Vargas
The Diocese had proactively undertaken all of these measures during the course of the investigation, with the exception of initiation of a formal penal process for Vargas, which will begin now.

“There are still steps to be taken and certainly more changes ahead,” added Bishop Kopacz. “As part of an agreed upon resolution of the federal investigation, the Diocese will welcome periodic review and oversight of its financial and management practices and protocols. As a result of the many steps we have already taken to tighten our internal controls, we are very comfortable with this resolution.”

Bishop Kopacz expressed, “deep regret for all who have been hurt by Lenin Vargas’s actions. We still invite anyone to come forward with claims, and we will work to seek a just resolution with them. We hope in Christ for new life and peace.”

The Agreement is to be in effect for twelve months.




18 comments:

Anonymous said...

mafia-

Anonymous said...

The Pope wanted to be called Pope Don Corleone, but it was already taken.

Anonymous said...

@12:23, not funny or cute.

Kingfish said...

Knock off the Catholic jokes in comments. Quit trying to refight the Reformation as well. Not approving those comments.

Anonymous said...

@12:50 if you cant handle some satire, you shouldn't be posting anonymously on a slightly sketchy blog about mississippi. (Not op)

Anonymous said...

@1:49 PM bovine scatology. Proof? Link?

Anonymous said...

He's human and fallible, and remember so are you - remember that as you frantically attempt to come up with the snarky "comment of the day."

I'm sure all of the Catholic-bashers here would willingly share their entire internet browsing history and would submit to a comprehensive review of all of their behavior with themselves and others' wives and children.

Sometimes its better to keep your yap shut, lest someone point the finger at you.

Vargas will pay a hefty price for his indiscretions and will have an eternity to work it out with our savior.

Anonymous said...

1255, can't give an accurate count, but if you give us your numebrs it will be a start.

Anonymous said...

" Knock off the Catholic jokes in comments. Quit trying to refight the Reformation as well. Not approving those comments. "

Agreed kingfish !

(And I'm another Protestant).

Instead of religious debates, let's have a new hot reporter poll !

Anonymous said...

Vargas? Hell of an artist!

Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic and I'm usually not the one to throw the first stone... but damn, that is one hell of a lie that should have been dealt with immediately.

Did he not think that anyone would eventually find out?... Telling your congregation that you have cancer and not really having it is bad enough. But getting HIV from your gay boyfriend in Mexico after taking a vow of celibacy? Then using illness as a hook for donations... donations that you send to your gay lover in Mexico for your futures? Then run away from the heat instead of facing judgement after getting caught? I know there's a priest shortage, but damn, not bad enough to need this type of guy. I hope the diocese learned a valuable lesson.

Anonymous said...

I think the fallacy of the press release was Bishop Kopacz expressing deep regret to all who were hurt by Vargas. The indictment shows clearly that either willingly or through absolute gross ignorance, the Diocese and the Bishop are guilty as well. How about a little self-regret for what happened Bishop? They perpetuated the lie by trying to cover up his sex addiction.

I'll bet they still have a majority of the finance staff still employed.

Anonymous said...

Catholic priest or protestant preacher, it makes no difference. There are good and bad in both groups. Unfortunately organized religion all to often becomes the refuge of a true scoundrel. When one of these evildoers is caught he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but that is not usually the case. We have a tendency to excuse the wrongs committed by a “man of the cloth”. That is not the way things should be done, but that is the way it goes. He will ultimately be found guilty because in the end God will judge him.

Anonymous said...

8:41 Yeah they shouldn’t have any trouble paying their finance staff after PPP.

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-catholic-church-3-billion-coronavirus-loans-not-business-ap-2020-7

Anonymous said...

This Bishop is slippery (look up his record in Pennsylvania) and he’s hurt a lot of folks in Starkville who attend Vargas’ old church. The priest who helped them through it and spoke up against Vargas was punished with a transfer out of Starkville. Thank you for shining a light on this ugly, seedy story.

Anonymous said...

"Punished with a transfer"...I hope that's sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

The focus here is not Vargas. Vargas's are going to exist until the end of times. He is nothing more than a common criminal that used his position to steal. The focus here is the bishop and his role on this issue. The bishop has entered into a Deferred Prosecutorial Agreement with the DOJ. A DPA is an alternative to adjudication, it grants amnesty to a defendant who is agreeing to certain stipulations. The defendant is Bishop Kopacz. He covered for Vargas knowing full well as to what Vargas was up to. He even lied to parishioners who ask him direct questions about Vargas. The bishop's Vicar General, Elvin Sunds was implicated as well in the 'cover up'. This is not some oversight or error of bad judgement. This is a systematic effort to manipulate the truth. As stated once already Bishop Kopacz was named twice in the scathing PA grand jury report from two years ago. Bishop Kopacz was engaged in a fraudulent scheme of cover up. This ongoing systemic unchecked power of the institutional Church is harming people. The blatant disregard by this bishop is of the same ilk as the never ending cover up of sexual crimes committed by catholic clergy.

Anonymous said...

Will there be further posting on this?

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Archives

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.