Catholic priest quits after claims he used church cash to pay ‘rent boy lover’
A New York priest has stepped aside from his role in the Catholic Church – after allegations he stole money to pay for sex with men.
Earlier this week a lawsuit was filed against Rev. Peter Miqueli, accusing the pastor of stealing over $1 million in donations to support and pay for sex with his gay lover.
The priest, who preaches at St Frances de Chantal in Throggs Neck in the Bronx, is also accused of stealing cash to pay for a hot tub, drugs and sex toys.
The lawsuit was filed at the Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday by incensed parishioners accusing Miqueli of taking from the donation plate at the Churches were he worked.
The papers allege that the priest had a long running S&M romance with Keith Crist – who forced the priest to refer to him as ‘master’ and drink his urine.
In a letter read to parishioners at services on Saturday, the priest announced he would step aside.
He said: “I have made the decision to step aside from my position as Pastor of this parish while this unfortunate and regrettable situation is investigated.”
However, he insisted: “I look forward to my ultimate vindication, and being able to resume my priestly ministry.”
The Archbishop of New York has called for heads to roll if the claims are proven, adding: “I mean, if these allegations are true – they’re awful, they’re vicious, they’re mean.
“Obviously, his [career] will be over.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of it. But right now, we’ve done our best looking into it and haven’t found any fire.”
According to the Archdiocese’s rules, all donations should be placed in locked bags, stored safely and counted by a trusted parishioner before being placed into the church bank account.
Instead, Miqueli allegedly placed the money into unlocked bags, which he kept and counted himself in his bedroom – sometimes leaving foot high stacks of it laying around.
The priest even hired his paid lover to work for him as the parishes’ new business manager – only for him to be sacked by the Archdiocese following a complaint.
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Lawyer Michael Dowd – who is representing the two parishes’ claims the allegations go back over ten years – claims that the church knew about the theft all along.
“It is unbelievable that the diocese can’t come to a conclusion about the misconduct of Miqueli when there is money missing that may be a million dollars from each (parish)”.
Bronx parishioner Jack Lynch told New York Daily News he believes the church is “going out of their way to protect him and for years. We suspect a scandal behind the scandal”.
Parishioners have since created a website, a Facebook page and hand out flyers all in the hopes of having the accused sacked.
“I have stopped going. No one likes him, and it really has torn apart the parish. People have had confrontations with him over the collections and the money,” one former church goer said.
“It’s sad that one person can destroy what was a great community with their greed and their actions”.