HARTFORD, Conn. – To onlookers, Monsignor Kevin Wallin’s fall from grace at his Connecticut parish was like something out of Breaking Bad, the television series about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a methamphetamine lord.
The suspended Roman Catholic priest was arrested on federal drug charges this month for allegedly having methamphetamine mailed to him from California and making more than $300,000 in drug 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 nearby North Haven, apparently to launder the money. He has pleaded not guilty, and jury selection is scheduled to begin March 21.
On social media sites, people couldn’t help but compare Wallin with Walter White, the main character on Breaking Bad who was making so much cash that he and his wife bought a carwash to launder their profits. Wallin has also been dubbed in some media as Monsignor Meth.
Wallin, 61, was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in 2011, citing health and personal problems.
We became aware that he was acting out sexually – with men – in the church rectory, Wallace told the newspaper, adding that church officials asked Wallin to resign.
Wallin’s arrest called attention to larger problems within the church.
Catholics have to ask whether the mandatory obligation of celibacy imposes a harmful burden on priests and whether women ought to be admitted to the priesthood, the group said in a statement. The steady decline in the number of priests, the aging of priests, the terrible sin of pedophilia among priests, and the downfall of Monsignor Wallin are all signs of a sickness in the priesthood. It is time to seek a remedy for this awful malady that threatens the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life.
This is all the work of evil, said Elizabeth Badjan, a St. Augustine member. He was not close enough to God. He was tempted by the devil.
Wallin’s case has drawn comparisons to that of the Rev. Ted Haggard, a well-known megachurch pastor in Colorado who was forced out of his job in 2006 after a male escort alleged Haggard had paid him for sex and bought crystal meth.