Menlo Park: Former secretary at St. Patrick's Seminary sentenced to 90 days in jail


Evelyn D. Vallacqua, a former secretary at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, was sentenced Friday, Oct. 16, to 90 days in San Mateo County jail in connection with charges of embezzling money from the seminary.

The sentence was part of a May 2014 bargain in which she pleaded no contest to one count of embezzlement and agreed to give "truthful testimony" at a trial of her supervisor and co-defendant, former seminary finance director Jennifer Margret Morris, who faced embezzlement charges.

That trial was never held. Ms. Morris, the former finance director who was accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the seminary, pleaded no contest to three counts of felony embezzlement, and was sentenced in August to nine months in county jail and five years of probation.

Ms. Vallacqua, 47, was accused of assisting Ms. Morris by issuing improper reimbursement checks, prosecutors said.

Ms. Vallacqua was also placed on three years of supervised probation and must pay $21,542 in restitution to the seminary, prosecutors said. She loses her Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure and must undergo counseling.

Ms. Morris had been issued a credit card for seminary business, but was accused of using her own credit card for over $166,000 in seminary-related purchases over six years – and reimbursing herself from seminary funds – in order to accumulate airline miles, prosecutors said.

Seminary purchases were in fact being made with Ms. Morris' credit card and everyone at the seminary knew it, Ms. Morris's attorney, Elliot Silver, said. It was a work-around since the seminary could not get a card with the credit limit it needed, he said.

— Dave Boyce

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