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Gambling Priest John Regan Gets 60 Days for Stealing Church Cash

A suburban Chicago Catholic who stole church money and used it to gamble has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Prosecutors dubbed Fr. John Regan the "riverboat priest" because he used to gamble on Chicago's riverboat casinos. He pleaded guilty in June of stealing nearly $300,000 from St. Walter Parish in suburban Roselle.

In addition to being sentenced to the two months, Regan must then serve 150 nights in jail, but will be free during the day to work. Regan is still a priest, but is not assigned to any parish. He also has to repay the money he took.

Regan tried to convince the judge to set him free by apologizing and admitting to an addiction.

“I have hurt the parishioners deeply. What I did was reprehensible. I’ve come to the realization that how I could do it was because I have a gambling addiction,” Regan said, reportedly teary-eyed. “My gambling addiction doesn’t know what vocation I have. It just knows I’m a human being.”

But the judge was unmoved.

“You’re going to leave this courtroom in handcuffs. Such a sentence is warranted in this case -- there’s no doubt in my mind,” said DuPage County Judge John Kinsella.

Even one of Regan's attorneys agreed.

"We think it’s a fair sentence. We think it’s a wise sentence,” John Donahue said.


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