CHICAGO -- Within weeks of arriving at St. Walter Catholic Church in Roselle, Ill., the Rev. John Regan began stealing from the collection plate to fund his gambling addiction.
He stashed checks in a private bank account and spent the money at casinos in Elgin and Joliet. He lost big, blowing $116,000 in less than a year at one of the riverboats, prosecutors say. By the time the Diocese of Joliet figured out what was going on, Regan, who last week pleaded guilty to theft, had taken nearly $300,000.
It's a striking case but not an unusual one, say addiction counselors, and it illustrates a problem they expect to grow if gambling expands in Illinois.