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Criminal Justice

Nun Says Priests Who Stole Got Lighter Sentences; Too Late to Withdraw Plea

Posted Dec 24, 2008 11:11 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Nebraska nun sentenced to prison for embezzling from the Omaha Archdiocese says priests who stole from their parishes got probation.

But the judge who sentenced her says he warned Markey that he alone decided her sentence, and it's now too late for her to withdraw her plea, reports the Omaha World-Herald.

Douglas County District Judge Thomas Otepka didn't sentence the priests cited by Sister Barbara Markey as having been treated more leniently, the newspaper notes, and has a record of putting white-collar criminals in jail. He gave Markey three to five years, but the term is cut to 18 to 30 months under sentencing guidelines.

Markey, a 74-year-old psychologist known for developing a popular Catholic marriage preparation course, is now expected to appeal her sentence to the state supreme court, the newspaper writes.

Prosecutors say Markey embezzled $250,000, gambling at least $76,000 of it away at Nebraska casinos, the article recounts. Her counsel notes that the archdiocese settled a civil case over the theft for $125,000. However, the archdiocese said in a letter to the court that the amount misused by Markey could have been close to $800,000.

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