They Sinned Against Man, and They Shall Be Punished

Maybe trusting somebody based on ethnic and religious associations ain't such a swell idea. I'm not even talking about what Madoff did to his friends in the South Florida Jewish community. The South Florida Catholic community has a fraudster of its own -- the Rev. Francis Guinan, who this afternoon was convicted of stealing $20,000 to $100,000 from his Delray Beach parish.

A national group called the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests quickly fired off a statement reminding observers that Guinan isn't the only member of the Delray Beach clergy accused of fleecing his flock.

We believe that more attention should be paid to Guinan's predecessor, Father John Skehan, who prosecutors say stole $370,000 from the church and that he spent it on a "girlfriend," personal trips and homes. We also believe that there can never be genuine "consent" when a highly educated and esteemed priest has sexual contact with a parishioner or church employee, regardless of their ages.

Certainly, it's an unholy mess. Things got even messier now that the man who plays the lead role in the lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Miami appears to be headed for the sidelines. Attorney Jeffrey Herman, whose office is in Aventura, has had his law license suspended for the next 18 months.

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