Priest Drug Charge: 'Monsignor Meth' Kevin Wallin Pleads Guilty To Selling Crystal Meth
A former priest from Bridgeport, Conn. facing drug charges pleaded guilty on Tuesday, according to reports.
Monsignor Kevin Wallin, a 61-year-old former Roman Catholic priest of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges after being arrested in January and accused of selling more than $300,000 of methamphetamine out of his home in Waterbury while running Land of Oz & Dorothy's Place, an adult video and sex toy shop in North Haven, supposedly used to launder money from drug distribution. As the Washington Post notes, Wallin awaits sentencing on June 25 and faces up to 14 years in prison.
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ABCNews.com reported that at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Hartford, Wallin changed his plea to guilty on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute the drug, and in exchange, the U.S. District Attorney's Office would ask for six additional charges of drug sales to be dropped at the sentencing on June 25.
Authorities say that Wallin along with four other men sold narcotics out of the Waterbury home and shipped the drugs between California and Connecticut, even selling the crystal meth to one undercover officer a total of six times. Police collected evidence necessary to bring formal charges against Wallin using surveillance wire-taps, surveillance and informants.
Dubbed by some as "Monsignor Meth," Wallin was pastor of St. Augustine Parish for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal reasons. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter's Church in Danbury until 2002.
"Msgr. Wallin's guilty plea represents an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others," read a statement from the Diocese of Bridgeport. "It is a difficult moment for all of us but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward healing and wholeness."
The diocese had suspended Wallin from public ministry last May amid concerns by church officials about various problems involving him, including sexually inappropriate behavior with other men in the church rectory. Church leaders weren't aware of Wallin's involvement with drugs at the time of the suspension, according to diocese spokesman Brian D. Wallace.
With the priest's drug charges and his guilty plea, Wallin now faces laicization, a process the Vatican uses to remove one from priesthood.
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