Feds: Priest lied about cancer in scam to raise money

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Source: Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Federal investigators said they have probable cause to believe a Mississippi priest fraudulently received donations by falsely telling people he had cancer and that his diocese knew that and concealed it.

The allegations came in an affidavit written by a Department of Homeland Security special agent that was attached to an application for a search warrant that targeted the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson. The application was dated Nov. 6 and unsealed Friday.

The affidavit says the Starkville priest falsely told people that he had cancer when he had actually been diagnosed with HIV. The Catholic Diocese of Jackson spread the priest’s story about cancer in an email to other priests, and the federal agent wrote that he believed the email was sent to hide the priest’s HIV diagnosis and to protect the diocese from negative publicity.

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