Kendall, N.Y. - Sister Mary Ann Rapp served two churches in Orleans County for 15 years. Prosecutors said she also stole from those parishes, and that the cash may have been used to feed her gambling habit,
Her supporters filled the Kendall Town Court Monday night as the Rapp appeared for arraignment. She pleaded not guilty to grand larceny in the second degree.
People like Jack Gillman a parishioner at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Kendall.
“I consider her one of the pillars of the community; she's done a lot for the town,” said Gillman. “She's done a lot for Holley. Whenever we've needed her, she's been there.”
Rapp is is accused of embezzling $128,000 from March 2006 through April 2011 from St. Mark’s and its sister church St. Mary's in Holley.
She was a pastoral associate at the parishes for 15 years. These accusations came to light when a new pastor requested an audit in 2010. In April 2011, Rapp had been terminated.
“Unfortunately it's a situation that's applying to a lot of people,” said Rapp's atorney, Jim Harrington. “People who wouldn't normally commit crimes go to casinos and other gambling places and they get into trouble and things spiral.”
“It's just an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances,said Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone. "But like anyone else, she needs to be held accountable for her actions.”
Rapp's attorney said the nun has been treated for a gambling problem. He hopes to reach a plea deal in the case.
Whatever happens, Rapp's supporters are standing by her.
“This situation as we look at it is tough, we don't understand it,” said Jack Gillman. “My personal conviction about her was: I still do think she's a very up person. If I had a problem, I feel as though I still could go to her.”
Rapp was released on her own recognizance. Her attorney waived her felony arraignment. Her next court date will be in Orleans County court. It has not yet been set.
Rapp could face 15-years in prison if convicted.