8 Years, 9 Months For Ex-Priest Who Stole From Rapid City Parishes

A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of stealing over a quarter of a million dollars in offering money from 3 Rapid City-area parishes has been sentenced to nearly 8 years in federal prison.

     Marcin Garbacz was convicted in March on 65 separate counts – 50 for wire fraud, 9 for money laundering, 5 for filing false tax returns, and 1 for transporting stolen money – stretching from 2012 to 2018.

     Judge Jeffry Viken gave Garbacz a total of 4 years 9 months for all the charges except the tax counts and 3 years for those. He also ordered the ex-priest to pay $46,000 to the IRS and restitution of about $259,000 to the 3 parishes. 

       Six priests and about a dozen community members attended the sentencing hearing, but none gave victim impact statements. The 3 affected parishes did submit sealed statements and former diocesan administrator Father Michel Mulloy sent a statement. Mulloy is now under investigation for sexually abusing a child in the 1980s.

      Prosecutor Benjamin Patterson said Garbacz “exploited his position as a priest” and “continues to play the victim,” the latter accusation proving accurate when Garbacz apologized to parishioners for the first time and said he knew he hurt people, but went on to say he acted because he was angry with the Catholic Church.

       Garbacz, a native of Poland, said the church treats homosexuals like himself as 2nd-class citizens and fails to support its priests, giving them unrealistic and unclear goals while discouraging them from showing any signs of weakness.

       Judge Viken was unmoved, calling the crimes serious, deliberate, and evidence of a sophisticated criminal mind.

        Garbacz made his first court appearance Tues morning on child pornography and sexual abuse charges unveiled last Friday that stemmed from evidence found during the original theft investigation. He pled Not Guilty to single counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and receipt of child pornography, facing a combined maximum of 40 years.

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