October 22, 2021

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St. Matthias Parish NJ priest sentenced for stealing $516K

SOMERVILLE – The former pastor of St. Matthias Parish in Franklin was sentenced to 7 years in state jail right after he pleaded responsible thieving more than $500,000 from the church that he used on gambling, luxury lodge stays, designer clothes and jewellery.

The sentence handed down Wednesday by Superior Courtroom Choose Peter Tober came after the court docket received much more than 100 letters in support of the Rev. Douglas Haefner, 69.

One particular girl attending the two-hour sentencing said she forgives “Father Doug.”

“That’s what we’re taught. I come to feel we unsuccessful him by not supporting him,” the lady informed the choose.

Tober mentioned Haefner is very likely to serve much less than 18 months before turning out to be eligible for parole. He is scheduled to surrender to authorities on Aug. 19.

Haefner expressed “deep remorse” to the judge.

“I harm and violated the folks of St. Matthias. I violated that trust and shook that rely on. I stand right here humiliated of the criminal offense I dedicated,” a tearful Haefner mentioned. “My habit bought out of management. Addicted folks damage the persons they enjoy the most.”

The Rev. Douglas J. Haefner

In May perhaps Haefner pleaded guilty to second-diploma theft for stealing more than $516,000 in church funds that had been invested for his private use.

Haefner’s lawyer Matthew Adams stated Haefner experienced inadequate retailers to offer with his demons and the demons of many others. He explained Haefner experienced worry and trauma from his lifetime and the lives of other individuals that compelled him to shoulder significant burdens. Haefner also experienced wellness issues.