St Patrick's CathedralIt’s not just abuse of children that Roman Catholic hierarchs have been known to cover up. They tend to protect a lot of clerical misbehaviors. Anything that might make their Church look bad, can be something they don’t want to be widely known. An example of this was revealed in a parishioners’ lawsuit against a priest accused of embezzlement, his “boy toy,” and the archdiocese and archbishop whom they accuse of covering it all up. The (NY) Daily News reports on this ambling, sordid tale involving two parishes (WebCite cached article):

Father, forgive him.

A scandalous lawsuit accuses a Bronx priest of looting more than $1 million from a pair of city parishes — then spending the cash on a long-running S&M romance with a muscle-bound boyfriend.

The Rev. Peter Miqueli reportedly paid $1,000 per rough sex session with his hunky lover, who demanded the priest address him as “Master” — and drink his urine, the lawsuit said.

The sex-slave priest and his boy toy have shared a house in Brick, N.J., after Miqueli paid $264,000 cash six years ago, according to the suit.

Miqueli, 53, was also accused of stealing money donated to fix a church pipe organ, siphoning funds from a parish thrift shop and getting high on drugs provided by a Bronx parishioner.…

The suit was filed by parishioners from St. Frances de Chantal Church in Throgs Neck, where Miqueli remains the pastor, and from his old church, St. Francis Cabrini, on Roosevelt Island.

“These charges of theft and misconduct have been made for at least 10 years,” said lawyer Michael Dowd, who represents the two parishes.

“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.”

The Daily News offers more details of the accusations, plus the plaintiffs’ assertion that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the archdiocese helped Fr Miqueli cover up what he’d done. Dolan, you may recall, has something of a history along these lines; back when he’d been archbishop of Milwaukee, he paid off a few abusive priests so they’d quit, rather than turn them over to authorities. He may have viewed Fr Miqueli’s embezzled funds as a kind of “price” the parishes should pay in order to keep this scandal quiet, too.

To be clear, this is a lawsuit, and by itself, the filing proves nothing. Even so, there’s the possibility of corroboration … such as the emails sent to and from the archdiocese by the girlfriend of Fr Miqueli’s lover. We’ll see how this turns out.

Photo credit: Andy Cross, via Flickr.

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