Gay Priest Convicted of Fraud in 1992

Lawyer says people circulating priest’s past are trying to smear him

Father Jim St. George, the gay priest who was recently released from his teaching position at Chesnut Hill College, was convicted on three felony counts of fraud 19 years ago, reports the Daily News.

St. George’s lawyer says that people who are dredging up the priest’s criminal record are simply trying to smear his reputation.

St. George served 10 months in prison after pleading no contest to three federal felony counts of mail fraud, reports the Daily News. He has been running a family funeral home and admitted to misusing money from prepaid funeral accounts.

The 45-year-old pastor of an independent Catholic congregation, which is not recognized by the Vatican and performs commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians, came into the media spotlight last month when he lost his teaching job at Chestnut Hill after making public statements about his 15-year relationship with another man.

Chestnut Hill officials say that they were unaware until recently that St. George was not ordained by the Roman Catholic Church, nor that he is homosexual – which violates church teaching.

St. George, who was hired to teach theology and justice courses at the Roman Catholic college, insists that he never hid these facts from the school and is outraged by his dismissal.

But even the now-retired bishop who ordained St. George into the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch is against the priest teaching at a Roman Catholic school.

St. George "has no business teaching theology in a Roman Catholic institution," The Rev. Kera Hamilton, of Norristown, wrote in a mass e-mail obtained by the Daily News.

Hamilton said that St. George "has overstepped his bounds, trampled propriety, and shown an arrogance that is beyond all comprehension."

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