NEW YORK MILLS — The priest and former Sheriff’s Office chaplain who admitted to stealing $87,000 from St. Mary Our Lady of Czetochowa has been suspended by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse pending the end of his six-month stay in county jail.
Rev. Valentine Krul’s status as a priest will also be reviewed by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.
Krul, 61, of 330 Buck Lane, Forestport, confessed in County Court Wednesday to using the $87,000 to buy a condominium in Florida and on other personal expenses.
"The situation involving Father Val Krul is a cause of great sadness for many people — for the diocese, for the parish and for the individuals affected personally," Bishop Cunningham said in a statement.
"We accept the judgment that has been made in this case and will continue to pray for Father Krul and the people in New York Mills who have been both supportive and cooperative."
According to Diocese spokeswoman Danielle Cummings, Cunningham will review Krul’s priesthood at the end of his six month stay in county jail, though Krul will likely get time off for good behavior. Krul will also be sentenced to five years probation.
"It’s premature at this point to determine fitness for ministry while serving out his sentence," Cunningham said.
"The Church is a forgiving institution. This is a sin."
She said Krul is currently suspended from "priestly ministry" for the time being. He remains a priest, but cannot function as one officially.
If needed, Krul’s priesthood may even be reviewed by the Vatican.
According to court documents, Krul stole $87,291.22 from the church for his own personal use between October 2008 and January 2011. Krul served as pastor of the church for 17 years.
"He purchased a condominium in Florida, yes. He would take trips down there," said First Assistant District Attorney Michael Coluzza.
As for the rest of the stolen church funds, "a lot of it was traveling, food, entertainment, personal expenses," Coluzza said.
The money was stolen directly out of the church bank accounts.
Krul was ordered to pay a full restitution, and Coluzza said the money will come from his retirement funds and the sale of both the condo and other items.
Krul was ordained in 1977, and became pastor for the church in New York Mills in 1994. Krul became the part-time chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office in 1985, and remained on the books until September 2005, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff Robert M. Maciol has been searching for a new department chaplain since he was elected, officials stated.
Krul was also charged with drunken driving in 2007 after a motor vehicle accident in New Hartford.