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Ex-Deacon Gets Jail In Theft From Michigan Church

GRAND HAVEN (WWJ/AP) - A former West Michigan church deacon who authorities say took $120,000 in cash from the weekly offertory basket has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Joseph Finnigan, 73, was sentenced earlier this week in Ottawa County Circuit Court after earlier pleading guilty to two counts of larceny over $20,000. He was also ordered to four years of probation, 250 hours of community service and he must pay restitution of $120,000.

Finnigan told the court that he took full responsibility for his actions, saying he was "truly sorry" for violating the law and violating the trust of parishioners.

"I really honestly never imagined that I'd be in this position... I've always tried to do the right thing but I didn't this time," he said. "I must be punished. And I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make restitution and trying to redeem myself."

Finnigan had worked as a deacon at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Grand Haven for 11 years before being fired in November. Church officials say the embezzlement occurred from 2007 to 2012.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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