News & Politics  
comments_image Comments

How a Catholic Priest Got Busted for Crystal Meth

The New York Times profiles Kevin Wallin, a Monsignor from Bridgeport, Connecticut who has now joined a list of other criminals from the Catholic Church.
 
 
Share

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
 

Kevin Wallin was a star in the Catholic Church. Now, he’s sitting in jail.

Wallin, a Monsignor from Bridgeport, Connecticut, has joined a list of other criminals who found their home in the Catholic Church. While much of the criminality in the church has focused on sex abuse and pedophilia, Wallin’s case is a story of drug abuse, drug dealing and adult gay sex. He is currently in jail after federal prosecutors arrested him last month on charges of possessing and conspiring to sell drugs.

The New York Times brought renewed attention to Wallin’s story when they ran a profile last week based on interviews with members of the Catholic clergy and the laity. Wallin’s lawyer did not grant an interview to the newspaper.

The Times reports that Wallin was a beloved figure in the church. He was a “confidant” to two bishops as well as a pastor in two churches. “Parishioners felt buoyed by his homilies. They hungrily signed up for his far-flung spiritual pilgrimages, flocked to church fund-raisers to catch his melodious voice interpreting show tunes. He attended opera with a man who would become a cardinal and he himself appeared bound for a bishop’s miter,” the New York Times’ N.R. Kleinfield writes.

He had incredible oratorical skills and charisma. Wallin was involved in local charities and was “an important pipeline to wealthy parishioners whose donations were crucial, especially as chaplain to the Order of Malta, an international Roman Catholic charity.”

Things started to change two years ago, though. Wallin appeared sick. He was thin, and walked “stooped over.” He was absent or late to events. It turns out he was using drugs and selling crystal meth. One friend of Wallin’s said he looked like “a refugee from a concentration camp.”

Wallin was also having gay sex and cross-dressing, according to the people interviewed by the New York Times. “He was a drug dealer and addict who was buying an adult novelty shop to launder ill-gotten proceeds, a priest who was cross-dressing and having sex with men,” Kleinfield reports.

Things started to unravel for Wallin in 2011. The Diocese of Bridgeport found that he was engaging in sexual activity, and he was eventually let go, though he continued to receive a stipend because the church thought they could help him. He checked in and out of hospitals for treatment for drug abuse. But those treatments could not stop his downward spiral. He was eventually suspended from his duties at the church.

Wallin was selling crystal meth out of a Connecticut apartment. But the police were soon on to him. Tipped off by an informant, New York cops alerted Connecticut police. He planned to go to England, but on the day his plane was set to leave, he was arrested.

The Times notes that “on Jan. 22, dressed in a baggy orange jumpsuit, a subdued Monsignor Wallin pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in a Hartford federal court. Prosecutors tabulated that he had grossed more than $300,000 from drug sales.”

Wallin’s case is the latest scandal to hit the Catholic Church in Bridgeport. According to the New York Times, “Last year, the Rev. Michael R. Moynihan, the former pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Greenwich, was sent to prison for obstructing justice after being accused of spending church money on himself. In 2007, the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, from St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien, was convicted of stealing $1.3 million; he died in prison.”

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
See more stories tagged with: