Bay Area priest accused of stealing more than $95,000 from parish collections

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SANTA ROSA, California – (KRON) – A priest who most recently served at Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa has been suspended after he was discovered with more than $95,000 in cash stolen from parishes where he served.

Father Oscar Diaz was identified as the offending priest in a statement released Monday by Bishop Robert F. Vasa with the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

According to Bishop Vasa, Father Diaz was discovered with more than $18,305 in cash during a crash in which he was involved on June 19.

During that crash, EMT responders found security bags used for parish collections in his car.

The money was then turned over to the Diocese and is associated with the Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa.

An investigation and several interviews were conducted, but police determined “the protocols surrounding collection accounting would make it difficult to arrive at sufficient proof of theft to pursue criminal prosecution,” according to the bishop.

Further investigation revealed Father Oscar had an additional $77,000 in cash which he had apparently stolen from other parishes where he served.

“The full extent of the theft is not known and may never be fully known, but the Diocese is committed to determining as fully as possible the extent of the theft from each of these parishes,” Bishop Vasa said. “One such determinations are made it is the goal of the Diocese to make restitution to the parishes.”

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