Monsignor Kevin Wallin, a Connecticut priest now being nicknamed Monsignor Meth, is expected to plead guilty next week to participating in a conspiracy to distribute crystal methamphetamine in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Post reports that court papers filed on Tuesday show that 61 year old Monsignor Wallin is expected to enter a guilty plea, which will have him facing a mandatory 10 years in federal prison.
Brian Wallace, a spokesman for the Bridgeport Diocese, told the Connecticut Post, "Monsignor Wallin's guilty plea will represent an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others.”
"It is a difficult moment for all of us, but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward healing and wholeness."
The Associated Press reports that Connecticut authorities said the Wallin had meth mailed to him from co-conspirators in California, and made more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his Waterbury apartment in the second half of last year.
Wallin had also purchased a bookstore - one that sold primarily pornography and sex toys - which he used as a front to launder money.
Wallin served as the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011 citing health and personal problems. Prior to that, he served six years as pastor of St. Peter's Church in Danbury until 2002.
The disgraced Monsignor was granted a sabbatical in July 2011, but in May 2012 was suspended from public ministry by the Diocese of Bridgeport.
While still serving as a priest, many noted his “off-kilter” behavior in early 2011. One church worker said that Wallin had grown “disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the Church.” The same worker, along with others, said the priest had long had sex with men and was a cross dresser.
On January 3, federal agents arrested Wallin, and on January 15 a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges. All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing meth and 50 grams of actual meth, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction. Wallin plans to plead guilty to that charge.
Wallin was also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth.
In exchange for Wallin's guilty plea to the conspiracy charge, it is expected that Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Caruso will ask the presiding Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello to dismiss six charges of sales at sentencing.
However, as The Connecticut Post reports, Assistant U.S. Public Defender Kelly Barrett may seek to reduce Wallin's prison time by applying for what is known as a "safety valve" sentence for first-time federal offenders.
It is also expected Barrett will use his addiction to crystal meth as an entry point. However, since Wallin is accused of being the leader in the operation, it may not be permitted.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein described Wallin’s arrest as "the dismantling of ... a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut."