El Paso

Former Catholic school administrators accused of theft expected in court Thursday

Two former school administrators of an El Paso Catholic school are expected in court Thursday morning, accused of theft.

Former principal Edwin Gallagher and former assistant principal Richard Fish allegedly stole more than $800,000 from St. Joseph's general fund.

Police said a 2016 audit found the misuse of funds, but Gallagher and Fish were not arrested until October 2018.

Three separate investigations found that Gallagher and Fish took money out of the school bank account for at least seven years.

In court documents, they admitted they used school funds to pay for personal expenses. It was later revealed that an audit found the money was spent on meals, lodging, air travel and casinos.

In a 2016 interview, then-spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of El Paso Elizabeth O'Hara said the general fund the men allegedly stole from was meant for school needs.

Gallagher and Fish are not employees of the diocese, but members of a Catholic religious order based in Ohio, Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis.

"This was money that was coming out of the school's general fund. So this could've been used for anything in the school, anything the school needed to teacher's salaries," O'Hara said.

The two men were in charge of the school for 25 years and police say they two took funds from June 2010 to July 2015. 

The Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis religious order did have to pay back the money in installments.

Gallagher and Fish are expected in the 243rd District Court at 10 a.m.


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