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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Timothy Dolan is finally suspending a New York priest accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars to use on cocaine-laced parties with a gay-for-pay prostitute.
Father Peter Miqueli resigned in disgrace in 2016 after a lawsuit filed by his parishioners accused him of embezzling nearly $1 million dollars to use on drugs and to pay for the services of Keith Crist, a paid prostitute. Tatyana Gudin, former girlfriend of Crist, has confirmed that Crist had frequent paid sexual encounters with Miqueli that included $1,000 sexual trysts, $300 bottles of whiskey and the drug Dilaudid.
An announcement buried on page 16 of the diocesan paper "Catholic New York" announced the priest's suspension, along with that of Fr. Michael J. O'Leary, arrested Mar. 17 for possession of methamphetamine.
"Both are prohibited from celebrating Mass and administering 'any and all' Church sacraments, either publicly or privately, and also face other associated restrictions," the announcement read.
The decree of suspension was signed Mar. 19 by Cdl. Dolan. The announcement explained that Miqueli was in violation of a decree issued against him in 2016, when Dolan ordered that Miqueli "avoid and and all persons or situations that could endanger your obligation to perpetual continence or any and all conduct that could that might cause scandal to the faithful or that would receive publicity in the media ... ."
The announcement does not specify the details of Miqueli's violation. It also makes clear that Dolan is recommending that Miqueli seek voluntary laicization.
After his 2016 resignation, Miqueli was sent to Our Lady of Consolation in the Bronx, a place for troubled priests, but sources confirm he has spent time away at a clerical rehabilitation center in Michigan called The Guesthouse.
Inside sources confirm that the chancery had last year put forth Miqueli's name for restoration to active ministry, but loud objections from the priest personnel board led to the recommendation being killed.
The suspension decree comes a week after Church Militant reported that Dolan had refused the independent investigator's recommendation that the cardinal immediately remove problem priests from ministry.
According to reliable sources, several weeks ago Barbara Jones — hired by Dolan in September to investigate archdiocesan handling of sex abuse — recommended that Dolan remove faculties from 6–8 priests based on allegations of sexual misconduct. Dolan failed to act on her recommendations, causing friction with the former federal judge.
Dolan was allegedly waiting until June, the annual time of priestly transfers and reassignments, hoping to quietly remove the priests on Jones' list by allowing their names to be buried among those named in the yearly clerical shuffle.
Church Militant sent queries to the New York archdiocese as well as Jones at the time, but received no response.
Although it's unclear if Miqueli's name was included in Jones' list of problem priests, his highly publicized track record of alleged financial malfeasance and sexual misconduct would make it likely.