Roselle priest expected to be freed after judge lowers bond

  • Rev. John F. Regan

    Rev. John F. Regan

Published: 2/18/2009 1:35 PM

A Roman Catholic priest accused of stealing more than $400,000 from a Roselle church is expected to be released from jail today after a judge agreed to lower his $1 million bond.

Attorneys for Rev. John F. Regan, who appeared in court handcuffed and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, asked that his bond be reduced so the 45-year-old man may return to an out-of-state counseling center where he had been receiving treatment for a gambling addiction.

DuPage Circuit Judge John Kinsella lowered Regan's bond to $100,000, meaning he needs 10 percent or $10,000 to be set free. The judge, however, refused to allow the priest to leave Illinois while his case is pending.

Regan is charged in a 21-count criminal indictment alleging theft, money laundering and operating a continuing financial enterprise. The 20-year priest faces six to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious felony offense.

Prosecutor Helen Kapas-Erdman, who objected to the bond-reduction request, said Regan began pilfering from St. Walter Catholic Church shortly after being assigned there in summer 2006. She said he stole the money during a two-year period to feed a gambling addiction while visiting riverboats in Aurora, Elgin and Joliet.

Regan has been in jail since Feb. 9.

Defense attorney John "Jack" Donahue said Regan does not have a prior criminal record and is taking steps through counseling to address his problem. Donahue said Regan does not pose a risk to the public and has cooperated fully with authorities, including voluntarily returning to Illinois to surrender on the arrest warrant.

Donahue said Regan is expected to post bail later today. Afterward, Regan will live in a Joliet Diocese church rectory in Shorewood under the supervision of another priest. Regan will not have access to that church's finances, a diocese official said.

Regan is due back in court April 15.