A car crash revealed that a North Bay priest had a "prolonged history of theft," according to the Diocese of Santa Rosa.
Father Oscar Diaz, most recently a pastor at Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa, had bags of money used for parish collections in his car when he was involved in a crash last month, Bishop Robert F. Vasa wrote in a letter released Monday. The money found — $18,305.86 in total — was linked to Resurrection Parish.
Further investigation revealed that Diaz had an additional $77,000 in cash that had apparently been swiped "in a variety of ways" from the parishes where he served, according to Vasa.
"I am deeply grieved that this has happened and am deeply saddened that the parishes he was sent to serve have been harmed," Vasa wrote. "The full extent of the theft is not known and may never be fully known but the Diocese is committed to determining as fully as possible the extent of the theft from each of these parishes."
Diaz has been suspended from priestly ministry, according to Vasa.