Gambling Nun Childhood Demons

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Gambling nun childhood demons-A Catholic nun with a gambling habit was sentenced on Tuesday to community service and repayment of less than half of the $850,000 she embezzled from Iona College, where she worked as vice president of finance.

An attorney for Sister Marie Thornton, better known as Sister Susie, blamed "childhood demons" for the addiction that prompted her to send phony invoices to the Westchester County college to cover up for gambling sprees in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The teary nun, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement, apologized in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for the crime she committed.

"I'm sorry I hurt so many people I genuinely loved," said Thornton. "I'm sorry for embarrassing my religious community, my family and my friends."

Judge Kimba Wood ordered Thornton to complete 2,000 hours of community service and pay back $350,000, noting insurance covered the remaining $500,000. Thornton faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

Defense attorney Sanford Talkin told the judge that Thornton had been diagnosed as having a pathological gambling addiction. He said she gambled to deal with "childhood demons," although he declined to elaborate.

"Gambling gave her a freedom, a freedom of feeling like it was about her for a change," Talkin said. "For the first time in her life, she was able to stop the suffering internally."

The thefts began in 1999 and ended in 2009, when Thornton resigned from her position as vice president of finance at the New Rochelle college.

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