HARTFORD, Conn. – A suspended Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine and bought a sex shop to possibly launder his drug money is asking a federal judge for leniency at his sentencing Thursday in Connecticut.
Monsignor Kevin Wallin, whose lawyer says was lonely and overworked when he turned to drugs and became an addict, agreed as part of his 2013 guilty plea to a possible prison sentence of 10 to 11 years. He's now asking for four years in prison and 500 hours of community service.
The 63-year-old priest has been incarcerated for the past two years.
Prosecutors say he headed the meth distribution conspiracy, and they are seeking a sentence of at least 10 years, which they say is appropriate for the crime.
Wallin began receiving methamphetamine in the mail from California suppliers in 2008 or 2009 and by about 2011, he began supplying meth to a New York distributor, authorities say. The quantity of meth supplied to Wallin "grew exponentially," prosecutors say. What began as supplies of 3.5 grams grew to meth deliveries in the ounces and eventually 1 to 3 pounds a month, authorities say.
Wallin also bought an adult video and sex toy shop in North Haven and apparently intended to launder drug proceeds, federal agents say in court documents.
Wallin's public defender says he has "zero criminal history" and is a beloved priest "with a record of extraordinary charitable service." The defense cites Wallin's three decades of charitable service and more than 80 letters of support, including one from the late Cardinal Edward Egan.
In court papers, the defense describes a priest who coped with the local parish's financial troubles as best he could at the start of the Recession in 2008. He turned to drugs, particularly meth, as an escape, the defense says.
Wallin is addicted to meth and could receive community-based substance abuse treatment, his lawyer says.
Prosecutors responded by saying the government "expresses no opinion" on Wallin's need for education, medical care and correctional treatment in the most effective way.