BRONX, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Bronx Times is reporting on a priestly scandal in New York, even as the archdiocese is eager to bury it.
Friday, Church Militant reported on a letter sent to the archdiocese from parishioners of St. Frances de Chantal in the Bronx, where Fr. Peter Miqueli was pastor for several years and allegedly embezzled money to engage in drug-laced sex romps with gay-for-pay prostitute Keith Crist.
Expressing frustration with the archdiocese for closing its investigation into Miqueli, parishioners wrote in their November 10 letter:
No matter how many elegant terms you choose, Miqueli stole, embezzled, defrauded, cheated, fleeced, conned, and swindled the people of the parishes in which he was appointed to be a spiritual leader, setting an example for others. He abused his people ... and the ADNY did nothing to come to our aid when it was happening, did nothing to stop it, and is now putting a cosmetic spin on the disgrace that they allowed to continue, casting doubt on the veracity, decency and integrity of the abused parishioners.
D.A. Darcel Clark admitted Miqueli was guilty of misappropriating more than $22,000 from parishioners — grand larceny in N.Y. law that carries a sentence of two–seven years in state prison — but she dropped her criminal investigation with little explanation.
The Bronx Times reported Saturday that parishioners believe the archdiocese's letter announcing the Miqueli matter closed "is an effort to recast the issue as an accounting error," according to parishioner James Corbett.
Although they had been complaining to the archdiocese for two years about Miqueli's behavior, "it took five days of front-page coverage in the city's major tabloids to prompt his removal" in 2015, he remarked.
The group is now hoping Cyrus Vance, Jr., the Manhattan D.A., will pursue a criminal investigation into Miqueli, who before he came to the Bronx spent 10 years at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, inexplicably generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.
According to a parishioner from Manhattan, "[S]omeone anonymously left copies of Fr. Miqueli's financial documents in his mailbox showing that the priest had an investment portfolio worth approximately $700,000, in addition to owning a home in Brick, NJ that he purchased all cash for $264,000" — this in spite of the fact that parishioners think Miqueli only made $32,000 a year as a priest.
Tatyana Gudin, former girlfriend of Keith Crist, told Church Militant in 2016, "What I know is going on is that Keith and Miqueli are being protected by the Manhattan D.A., by the NYPD and by the state police."
"And as far as the $1 million embezzlement from Roosevelt Island, any of these agencies — the NYPD, the Manhattan D.A. — you know, they could try to kind of, sort of justify, well, we don't have the evidence," she continued, "but the problem is they can't use that as an excuse because they know there's people with evidence and witnesses waiting for them ... ."
"Multiple sources in the archdiocese point to current Vicar General Greg Mustaciuolo, who is credited with being the real power in the archdiocese — not Cdl. Dolan," Michael Voris has reported. Mustaciuolo in turn is allegedly protected by Cdl. Edwin O'Brien, former rector at St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York and current grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Multiple sources confirmed that Crist would personally pick up O'Brien during his yearly visits from Rome to New York and ferry him around the city, frequently attending private dinners with the cardinal, where Miqueli and Mustaciuolo were also in attendance.
In fact, eyewitnesses testify to Crist's own admission that he was "protected" by Cdl. O'Brien, on one occasion screaming at a priest he did not like that Crist would "destroy" him by reporting him to O'Brien.
"All of this raises an enormous number of questions," Voris said. "How does a male, gay-for-pay prostitute gain that much continuing access to a cardinal, even stayed at his residence in Rome for a couple of months? Why is the vicar general so tightly wedded to all of this? Why has Peter Miqueli not been kicked out of the priesthood already?"
Although other priests have been defrocked or kicked out over far less egregious offenses, Miqueli, who is no longer ministering publicly, remains on the archdiocesan payroll, parishioners ultimately footing the bill.