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Suspended Catholic priest pleads guilty to meth charge

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's a highly unwholesome story involving conduct most unbecoming of a member of the clergy. The Reverend Kevin Wallin, a suspended Catholic priest, has entered a guilty plea to federal drug charges. The result of extensive detective work into his most unseemly activities, the 61-year-old Wallin now faces a maximum term of life in prison and a $10 million fine.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut announced that Wallin, of Waterbury, Connecticut, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crystal methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said in a statement that Wallin, with the plea, admitted that he received and distributed 1.7 kilograms of the drug.

He was arrested January 3 following an investigation that involved wiretaps, confidential sources and an undercover officer. Meth, drug paraphernalia and drug packaging materials were found in a search of Wallin's apartment.

In addition, Wallin sold meth to the undercover officer six times between September and January.

Wallin received shipments of meth from two people in California, Kristen Laschober and Chad McCluskey, with the understanding that Wallin would pay them with earnings generated by distributing the drug to his customers and other dealers, according to an affidavit.

A neighbor in Wallin's apartment building, Kenneth Devries received the packages and distributed the drug when Wallin was unable to do it himself.

Authorities said they believe Wallin also distributed the drug to alleged dealer Michael Nelson of Manchester. Laschober, McCluskey, Devries and Nelson were all arrested in January and are awaiting trial.

There is the possibility that others were involved in the operation, and remains under investigation.

Under Wallin's plea agreement, his prison sentence will be between 11 to 14 years. Judge Alfred Covello has scheduled sentencing for June 25 at the United States Court House in Hartford.

Wallin was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal problems. He had previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter's Church in Danbury until 2002.

Granted a sabbatical in July of 2011, the Diocese of Bridgeport suspended Wallin from public ministry last May.

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