PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Catholic clergyman who pleaded guilty last spring of stealing more than a half million dollars from an unauthorized Philadelphia Archdiocese account has been sentenced. Prosecutor allege the money was spent to fund as a lavish lifestyle.
In front of two dozen family members, friends, Catholic nuns and fellow priests, 78-year-old William Dombrow learned his fate on Wednesday. A judge sentenced him to eight months in a federal prison, with three years supervised release.
Dombrow, who admitted to taking more than $535,000, apologized to the court for taking the money and said he used most of it to fund his gambling addiction. But he assured the court that the rest was used to enhance the lives of the retired clergy at Villa Saint Joseph’s in Darby Township, where he worked and lived.
“Monsignor Dombrow is extremely remorseful and is extremely upset with his conduct,” said his attorney, Coley Reynolds. “He looks forward to serving his sentence, and continuing to serve the community.”
Prosecutors argued Dombrow spent money intended for a Catholic nursing home as a means to fund a lavish lifestyle: buying expensive dinners, a stereo system and several gifts and purchases.
Four people testified on Dombrow’s behalf, speaking about the good he’s done for them, and one FBI agent took the stand to go through the expenditures.
In his decision, the judge said all of the good Dombrow has done doesn’t outweigh the bad, and that Dombrow’s attitude seemed to be one of “no harm, no foul.”
Dombrow, who has been forgiven by the church, is set to start his sentence in February and has been ordered to pay restitution of the full $535,000.