Priest pleads guilty to stealing from church, gets probation

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A priest who pleaded guilty to stealing $96,000 from a Westmoreland County church was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Some parishioners at the Seven Dolors in South Huntingdon Township blasted the legal system Thursday, saying exposing the Rev. Emil Payer was all for nothing.

“He’s getting away with nothing but probation.  He’s going to pay restitution? Where’s he going to get the money from?” said Fred Teacher.

Bishop Lawrence Brandt released this statement:

"It has been more than three years since parishioners brought their concerns about parish finances to the diocese. This has been a long process for them, and I appreciate their patience during the criminal justice process."

The bishop went on to say that he believed the settlement was fair since the church recovered its money.