NY Mills priest gets 6 months in theft of $87,000 from church

NEW YORK MILLS — The Rev. Valentine Krul, pastor at the Church of the Sacred Heart and St. Mary Our Lady of Czetochowa, pleaded guilty in County Court this morning to stealing more than $87,000 from the church coffers.

Krul admitted the theft rather than having the case presented to a grand jury.

Krul, 61, of 330 Buck Lane, Forestport, pleaded guilty before Judge Barry M. Donalty to second-degree grand larceny, court officials said. He accepted a plea offer of six months in county jail and five years probation.

His case was adjourned for sentencing to March 7, but officials said Krul was taken into custody after his plea to begin his sentence today.

According to court documents, Krul stole $87,291.22 from St. Mary’s Church for his own personal use between October 2008 and January 2011. Krul served as pastor of the church for 17 years.

Krul was also sentenced to pay the full restitution.

The District Attorney’s Office began investigating the church funds as early as October, following an internal audit by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. Krul had asked for a leave of absence in early 2011, prompting a routine audit of church finances, diocese officials said.

The audit uncovered certain issues that the diocese asked the District Attorney’s Office to investigate.

Father Krul, who once served as a part-time chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office, was arrested for drunken driving after an accident in New Hartford on Dec. 11, 2007. Krul was later fined $500 in Town Court. He was ordained in 1977 and served part-time for the Sheriff’s Office since 1985. He became a priest at St. Mary’s Church in New York Mills in 1994.