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article imageGambling addicted nun spent $1 million on slot machines

By JohnThomas Didymus     Nov 14, 2011 in World
A Catholic nun, Sister Marie Thornton, 65, addicted to gambling, stole more than $1 million from a Catholic college where she worked to spend on slot machines in Atlantic City casinos.
The Daily Mail reports that Sister Marie Thornton stole money from Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, over a period of ten years to maintain her gambling addiction. According to prosecutor Preet Bharara, Sister Thornton,
“...covered up the thousands she would lose by systematically submitting false vendor invoices for reimbursement to Iona College and submitting credit-card bills for personal expenses to be paid by Iona College."
The court was told that Sister Thornton, popularly known as Sister Susie, sometimes lost up to $5,000 after a day's gambling. New York Post reports than on an occasion she lost up to $10,000.
Sister Thornton told a Manhattan federal court that she was sorry for her crimes and the embarrassment her actions had caused the church, her family and friends. She told Judge Kimba Wood:
“I have labored over finding the right words because I want so desperately for you to know how sorry I am, but somehow the words . . . don’t touch or convey . . . the gut-wrenching sorry that I feel all day, every day."
Her defense attorney Sanford Talking, told the court that Sister Thornton's gambling was not from greed but stemmed from childhood abuse:
"Her betting wasn’t about greed...When Sister Susie was gambling . . . she was able to stop the suffering internally. Gambling gave her a feeling of freedom, a feeling it’s about her for a change...You’re not dealing with somebody who is trying to buy a diamond necklace.”
Sister Thornton was vice president for Finance at the Catholic Iona school. A federal probe was launch after $ 1 million was discovered missing in the church tax's filing. The nun was arrested a year ago after investigations implicated her. According to New York Post , over a period of ten years, she would drive with an unsuspecting companion to New Jersey and spend her day gambling at various casinos.
Sister Thornton had faced three years in jail for her offense, but the judge said it appeared she had been successfully rehabilitated. According to The Daily Mail, she had undergone rehabilitation treatment for her gambling addiction. The judge also said the strict supervision she would have to endure at her religious order was additional punishment. New York Post reports Sister Thornton is shunned by Sisters of St. Joseph, the order to which she belongs and has served for more than 48 years. The nun spends long hours in solitary confinement in a small room in her Philadelphia convent. She is not allowed to take meals with other sisters and is not allowed to leave the nunnery.
Sister Thornton holds a doctorate in education and had served as an assistant school superintendent for the Archdiocese of Newark, but it is unlikely she will ever be allowed to teach again
Sister Thornton's sentence has been postponed twice for medical reasons, and at other times at the request of her lawyers.
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