Judge slaps Rumson priest with five-year prison sentence for theft
(06/02/06) FREEHOLD ? A judge sentenced former Holy Cross Pastor Father Joseph Hughes to five years in prison Friday for his theft of church funds.
Hughes has admitted to stealing $75,000 from the church. However, prosecutors say that figure is probably closer to $2 million. They say Hughes spent the money on sports cars, vacations, expensive restaurants and a giant birthday party for himself. Hughes pleaded guilty of theft by deception and tax evasion.
The priest had asked the judge for leniency based on health reasons and his 16 years of service to Holy Cross parishioners. However, the judge stated Hughes? actions had caused many people to lose faith in the church. According to the judge, the consequences of Hughes? theft warrants a harsher sentence.