Hearing scheduled for Chadds Ford priest

St. Cornelius Church

A preliminary hearing for Msgr. Gregory L. Parlante is scheduled for this Thursday, Feb. 1, before Judge Wendy Roberts in district court. Parlante, formerly of St. Cornelius Church in Chadds Ford, was arrested last week and charged with drug possession and stealing from the church collection.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Parlante was stealing money from St. Cornelius collections and depositing the stolen funds into a secondary bank account at Iron Workers Bank.

“The defendant was then making his narcotics purchase using money from his Iron Workers account via various sources such as Paypal and other forms of electronic transactions," the affidavit said.

Police learned from the church's business manager that Parlante had an annual salary of more than $27,000 and that paychecks were deposited directly into a PNC bank account belonging to the defendant.

Parlante was relieved of his duties at the church for medical reasons early last year. Maintenance employees were cleaning out his office in May to determine what items were his and what belonged to the church. They found a package addressed to Parlante in the top drawer of his computer desk and contacted the Pennsylvania State Police when they saw items they felt were suspicious, the affidavit said.

In the package were a bottle of blue liquid and a clear plastic bag containing crystals. Police also found several plastic baggies and straws containing a "white crystalline substance." The items later tested positive for methamphetamine.

Police determined that Parlante — between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 27, 2017 — took approximately $5,500 from the Sunday collection. According to that affidavit, a church volunteer told police that she had witnessed Parlante taking $500 from each Sunday collection. The defendant reportedly told the volunteer that the money was for paying substitute priests and altar boys.

A church employee also told police that he would deposit money into a personal bank account Parlante had at the Iron Workers Bank. According to the affidavit, the employee would deposit $1,000 to $5,000 at a time.

While the hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, court personnel said there's a good chance it will be continued.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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