A New York priest stole more than $1 million from two churches in order to pay for rough "S&M" sex with his boyfriend, according to a lawsuit.
The suit, filed by parishioners, alleges that Father Peter Miqueli broke New York Archdiocese rules on gifts and donations by taking the funds. Church members have created a petition and a Facebook page demanding Father Miqueli's removal.
Father Miqueli, 53, serves as parish priest in the Bronx, New York. The lawsuit, filed at Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges he took the cash to pay for $1,000 bondage sessions with a man referred to as his "master", Keith Crist.
The papers say: "This lawsuit seeks to finally put an end to this truly sinful conduct so that St Frances de Chantal parish can regain the strength, spirituality and faith it once had before Father Miqueli arrived."
According to the New York Post, during the sessions Father Miqeuli was forced to drink Crist's urine. The New York Daily News claims that Miqueli took money that had been given to repair a pipe organ from the Bronx parish and also stole $20 bills from the collection plate at his former parish on Roosevelt Island.
"I feel really bad for the parishioners," the plaintiffs' lawyer Michael G Dowd told the New York Daily News. "We've done a lot of homework. This is a bad guy. The thing that's really amazing to me is, how could this guy be acting this way for nine years or so and the Archdiocese does nothing? Someone extremely powerful is keeping Miqueli in as pastor."
Bronx parishioner Jack Lynch said: "We can't understand it. It seems they are going out of their way to protect him and for years."
The Archdiocese said they are taking the allegations seriously and have ordered an audit of the parish. "To date we have found nothing to substantiate the allegations that have been raised. If anyone has information or documentation to substantiate the allegations, we would invite them to bring that information forward, or to contact the district attorney."