Sister Marie Thornton, a nun charged with embezzling $1.2 million from Iona College, pleaded not guilty this week and has been released without bail. Thornton, the University’s former vice president of finance, allegedly paid credit card bills and personal expenses without the University’s permission for 10 years. She was fired last year, reportedly after Iona officials discovered her secret spending habits, though they didn’t tell the police about it at that time.
The New York Post reports:
Officials wouldn’t say where the money went, but a former men’s basketball coach at the school has hinted on the radio that Thornton may have gambled away at least some of it.
“I think she absconded with some funds or something down to Atlantic City,” Jeff Ruland, who was fired in 2007, said on WFAN-AM in March.
In October, the college’s president admitted they’d lost $800,000, but also said they’d “recovered a major amount.”
Sister Marie Thornton was also apparently the Iona women’s basketball moderator. Last April, she gave out the “Sister Susie Award” at their annual banquet dinner. Icgaels.com, an Iona College website said, “This award honors someone who exemplifies all of the qualities and values on which the Iona women’s basketball program is built.” Judging by the team’s 18-13 record from last year, the girls could use a lesson about the “value” of “stealing.”