Gambling Irish nun blew close to $1 million in Atlantic City
Sister Susie avoids jail but gets solitary confinement in convent
An Irish nun landed in solitary confinement in her convent after admitting she blew $850,000 in gambling sprees. She avoided a jail term however.
She admitted to stealing the money from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, where she worked as a financial officer.
Sister Marie Thornton, known as Sister Susie, wore her Celtic cross around her neck to court as she pleaded guilty to the charges but Judge Kimba Wood decided she was being punished enough by her solitary confinement in a Philadelphia nunnery.
In an act of kindness, her order, the Sisters of St. Joseph refused to press charges.
Almost every weekend for ten years until 2009 Sister Susie, as she was known, would drive to Atlantic City and use college credit cards to gamble.
She was losing $2,000 to $5,000 a visit, prosecutors said.
“She covered up the thousands she would lose by systematically submitting false vendor invoices for reimbursement to Iona College and submitting credit-card bills for personal expenses to be paid by Iona College,” said US Attorney Preet Bharara.
Defense attorney Sanford Talkin stated her criminal behavior was a result of terrible childhood abuse.
“When Sister Susie was gambling . . . she was able to stop the suffering internally. Gambling gave her a feeling of freedom, a feeling it’s about her for a change,” Talkin told the court. “You’re not dealing with somebody who is trying to buy a diamond necklace.”
Now the nun is in solitary confinement in a Philadelphia convent.
“She can’t even go to the store and get milk,” a source told the New York Post. “My belief is she never will be." Sister Susie told the court she was dreadfully sorry.
“I have labored over finding the right words because I want so desperately for you to know how sorry I am, but somehow the words . . . don’t touch or convey . . . the gut-wrenching sorry that I feel all day, every day,” Sister Susie told the court last week.
“I have been long, in isolation, in pain and in shame, and in humiliation that I can’t even begin to describe, but because I have suffered through it, I’m stronger, I’m better and I’m grateful.”
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