MailOnline (Daily Mail – dailymail.ca.uk)
PUBLISHED: 15:59 GMT, 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 16:38 GMT, 21 February 2013
- Concerns for Monsignor Kevin Wallin grew before he left post
- Suspended by church because of alleged sexual activities
- Priest accused of making more than $300,000 by dealing crystal meth
The Connecticut priest charged last month with dealing crystal meth was feared to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown, it has been revealed, as the cracks began to appear at the start of his astonishing fall from grace.
Former colleagues of Monsignor Kevin Wallin have said he had been struggling with his faith for years as he was affected by the stress of running a financially crippled church.
Friends of the former priest, who have suggested his alleged drug use may have been a more recent development of his fall, grew increasingly concerned for his welfare before he left his post, including one who said he looked like ‘a refugee from a concentration camp’.
Concerns: Former colleagues of Monsignor Kevin Wallin have said he was struggling with his faith before his fall from grace
According to the New York Times, Wallin would miss appointments and was once three hours late for a wedding, as concerns for his welfare grew.
The suspended Roman Catholic priest was arrested on federal drug charges last month for allegedly having methamphetamine mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and making more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his apartment in Waterbury in the second half of last year.
Along the way, authorities said, he bought a small adult video and sex toy shop in the nearby town of North Haven named ‘Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place,’ apparently to launder all the money he was making.
Wallin, 61, was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal problems. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.
According to the New York Times report, the priest was expected by many to become a bishop.
But the report states he began wrestling with his faith, with one church worker saying: ‘He had become disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the church.’ The worker and others said the priest had long had sex with men.
The report says friends became concerned about the state of his mind as he was found to be ‘very off-kilter’ by early 2011, and one close friend said he sometimes spoke incessantly.
In June of that year he was told to resign by Bishop William E. Lori following allegations ‘of sexual activity in the rectory’, according to the New York Times report.
He was ordered to get a medical evaluation, which found he needed treatment, which he resisted, leading Bishop Lori to suspend his faculties, meaning he was not allowed to act publicly as a priest.
Later that month he checked into St Luke Institute, a psychiatric hospital which treats Catholic clergymen, where, according to some who know him, his amphetamine use was found out. Against staff wishes, he left the hospital on November 4.
Authorities believe by the following year he had become a drug dealer, living in an apartment in Waterbury.
Federal agents arrested Wallin on January 3, and a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges on January 15.
All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction.
Wallin is also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Last July, Drug Enforcement Administration agents in New York told agents in the New Haven office that there was an unidentified Connecticut-based drug trafficker distributing methamphetamine in the region.
Two months later, an informant told the DEA that the trafficker was Wallin, according to an affidavit by agent Jay Salvatore in New Haven.
The Connecticut Statewide Narcotics Task Force was also investigating Wallin.
Authorities said an undercover officer with the state task force bought methamphetamine from Wallin six times from September 20 to January 2, paying more than $3,400 in total for 23 grammes of the drug.
Federal agents also say they learned through wiretaps and informants about other sales Wallin was making.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein said federal and state authorities worked together in ‘the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organisation that spanned from California to Connecticut.’
Also charged in the case were Kenneth Devries, 52, of Waterbury; Michael Nelson, 40, of Manchester; Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, California; and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, California. Authorities say McCluskey and Laschober were involved in the shipping of methamphetamine to Wallin.
Wallin faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $2million fine if convicted.