A Catholic Priest of 46 years has resigned after stealing a £50,000 of church funds to buy four houses for his housekeeper lover, Gillian Leddy and her two daughters.
According to Mirror, John Reid, 69, lived as a family with Leddy and her grown-up daughters in the presbytery at St. Cuthbert’s church in Chester-le-Street, Co Durham.
“I wish to express my sincere apologies for the all the distress and unrest my actions have caused. I accept full responsibility for the way the finances of the Parishes were used. Sorry,” Father Reid wrote in an Easter farewell to worshipers.
“St Paul in 1 Corinthians 1 Verse 10 asks that there be no divisions among us. This is the time to move on, draw a line and come together as the body in Christ in this area.
“Please love one another as the Good Lord has asked. Thank you for all those who prayed for me, had Masses said, those who wrote letters and sent cards.
“They were a great comfort to me. May God bless you all.”
It was noted though that the letter was signed John C L Reid, not Father Reid; propounding he may have renounced his duties as a priest.
Meanwhile, the Dioscesan Chief Operating Officer, Kathleen Smith wrote: “I think it is very important that Judge Prince, while sentencing Fr John, actually said: ‘Those charged with financial responsibility cannot turn a blind eye to the behaviour of a priest.”
“There can be no criticism of the people who reported this,” she added.
It was reported that Reid told the Mirror he had sent his letter along with a statement to be presented and read at the emergency parish meeting which followed his conviction.
“Being a priest is a life time commitment, and I am (still) a priest. My future now is in the hands of the Bishop,” Reid continued.
He also chose not to comment when asked if he has gone through “crisis of faith.” He said anything on his future must undergo through the Diocese.
Reid is now living in Stockton-on-Tees, according to Mirror. He, however, refused to expound his relationship with Leddy, which her daughter Veronica, confirmed her mother is “good friends” with him.
Mr. Reid told the Police that he was in love with Gillian Laddy, and her daughters Veronica, 30, Alice, 28, were ‘the family that he never had,’ as the court heard his statement.
At Durham Crown Court, he admitted to have defrauded his parish and he was given an 18-month jail term, suspension for two years before his resignation, and was made to pay back £50,000.
“He withdrew from public ministry during the course of the investigations, and this has remained in place,” the diocesan spokesman said in reference to his statement that he haven’t seen John Reid’s letter.