Priest Pleads Guilty In Church Theft Case

An Omaha priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing thousands of dollars from one of the two parishes where he was pastor.

Father Rodney Adams surrendered to police and entered the plea a few hours later to a charge of theft by deception in connection with the missing funds.

He has since been released on his own recognizance.

Last month, the Omaha Archdiocese said that more than $83,000 had been stolen from St. Bridget Parish. The archdiocese said Father Adams, who was pastor at St. Bridget and St. Rose parishes, had been put on leave and was helping investigators.

The archdiocese also said there were no indications that any other people were involved.

Father Adams told a district judge he embezzled more than $83,000 by writing checks from an account at St. Bridget, collecting an additional salary from the same parish.

His attorney, James Schaefer, says Father Adams intended to plead guilty from the beginning.

"The only strategy up to this point was for Father Adams to accept responsibility for what he did and that's what he's wanted to do for the last month, month-and-a-half, since the archdiocese discovered this incident."

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for September. Father Adams could face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

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