NORTHBOROUGH (AP) -- A Roman Catholic church pastor has resigned as the diocese investigates allegations he stole more than $230,000 from the parish and its school, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus said in a letter to parishioners Sunday.

The Rev. Stephen Gemme of St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough was granted a medical leave of absence and placed in residential treatment after the alleged thefts were uncovered, McManus wrote, according to The Telegram & Gazette (http://bit.ly/19ISCu7 ).

Gemme admitted to a gambling problem and offered his resignation, which was accepted, according to the letter.

Gemme remains in treatment and could not be reached. It was not clear if he had hired a lawyer.

"As a result of the magnitude of the misuse of funds," the Worcester district attorney's office has been informed, the bishop wrote.

The bishop said he was informed by a member of the parish school's advisory board about questionable expenditures from a school account in mid-July.

It appeared that Gemme used more than $110,000 in school funds and more than $120,000 of parish funds "for personal expenditures unrelated to the parish or school" over the last four years, McManus wrote.

McManus said despite the seriousness of the allegations, parishioners should remember all the good Gemme has done.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.



com