Two nuns embezzled “substantial amounts” of funds from a Catholic school in Southern California for their own use, said Monsignor Michael Meyers of St. James Catholic Church in a letter to parishioners.
An internal investigation found that for several years, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang used funds set aside by St. James Catholic School, Archbishop Meyers said in the letter.
CNN has not been able to contact women by phone or email for comment.
Sister Mary Margaret retired in June after 28 years as the principal of K-8 school, which serves students from Torrance to Redondo Beach. A routine audit of his retirement triggered “several alerts” regarding “checks converted into cash in separate accounts,” said Adrian Alarcon, director of media relations for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The amount is believed to be in the range of $ 500,000, but an investigation is under way to determine the exact figure, Alarcon said.
Sister Lana was an eighth-grade teacher at the school and also retired this year, after 20 years, said CNN affiliate KABC.
The church and the archdiocese decided not to press for charging the sisters with criminal charges , Meyers said. Instead, they plan to “address the situation internally through investigation, restitution and sanctions against the teachers.”
“Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me, and asked me to convey it to them, the deep repentance they feel for their actions and ask for their forgiveness and prayers,” Meyers wrote in the letter. “They and their order pray because you have not lost faith in the educators and administrators of the school.”
No one else was involved in the alleged theft, the letter says. The Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, to which Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana belong, is collaborating with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to “make arrangements for the total restitution, for the benefit of the school, of the funds that are known were embezzled, “says the letter.
The nuns continue in the order, which has promised the archdiocese sanctions in an undetermined way, Alarcon said.
Dennis Nordstrom was born and raised in Tampa. Dennis has worked as a freelance journalist for nearly a decade and written for Tribune Media, the AP and MSNBC. As a journalist for Gator Ledger, Dennis mostly covers community events and human interest stories.