NewsCovering Kern County


Former Tulare priest sentenced for stealing from church

Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 20:07:49-04

(UPDATE: August 8, 2018 5:07 p.m.) According to the chancellor of Diocese of Fresno, Teresa Dominguez, Villafan worked in Kern and Inyo counties from May to December 2014.

He was also assigned as a hospital chaplain and served in a pastoral support role at St. Philip the Apostle Chirch and St. Francis in Bakersfield, according to Dominguez.

Dominguez said that he was not involved in financial matters.

A former Tulare priest was sentenced to five years probation for stealing over $300,000 from his church, according to the Tulare County District Attorney's Office.

On March 5, 2018, pastor Ignacio Villafan pleaded to one felony count of grand theft of personal property with the special allegation that the financial amount exceeded $200,000.

The district attorney's office says Villafan, the former priest at St. Rita's Church in Tulare, wrote church checks for his personal use to the amount of over $195,000. In addition, Villafan gifted church funds to benefit family members, and the diocese' forensic audit revealed a total loss of over $300,000.

Restitution will be determined at a hearing in October.