Nun Sense – Sister Barbara Markey Pleads Guilty to Theft!

White collar crime takes a different look when a Nun commits the crime. Apparently she had a “habit” of gambling and broke one of the ten commandments to fund the need.


Every choice has a consequence. Fortunately, Sister Barbara Markey, age 73, elected to plead guilty to theft and agreed to pay $125,000 in restitution. Fired in 2006 as director of the archdiocese’s family life office, Markey faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced in July 2008.

Markey, N.D., Ph.D., co-wrote a popular marriage-preparation program for the Catholic Church. Originally, defense attorney John Stevens Berry Sr. said the case stems from a disagreement about ownership and funding priorities related to the FOCCUS marriage preparation program, which Markey helped develop. Obviously, Markey has changed her mind about the ownership and funding priorities.

The Archdiocese of Omaha is satisfied with Sister Barbara Markey’s guilty plea to theft by deception today in Douglas County District Court. The case relates to funds taken from the Archdiocesan Family Life Office and FOCCUS, Inc., a Nebraska non-profit corporation affiliated with the Archdiocese, while Sister Markey was the director. Financial irregularities discovered in 2006 resulted in Sister Markey’s termination.

The Archdiocese is finalizing a settlement agreement resolving civil lawsuits related to the case. Under the agreement, Sister Markey will make restitution of $125,000 to the Archdiocese and the Archdiocese will not object to any recommendations that Sr. Markey be sentenced to probation.

Rev. Joseph Taphorn, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, says it was clear that the Archdiocese would not recover all of the missing funds. Taphorn added, “Sister Markey’s willingness to plead guilty and make some restitution will hopefully bring this matter to a close. We’re ready to move on.”

Every choice has a consequence. As a white collar crime and business ethics speaker, I speak from first hand experience about the truth about consequences. Reality is – no one escapes the consequences of their choices. Most frauds are comprised of three components: (1) need; (2) opportunity; and (3) rationalization. It seems here that all three are present. Markey needed the money to fund her addiction to gambling. Due to her position she had opportunity. Likely, she rationalized her actions by disputing (at least at first) the ownership of the FOCCUS program she co-authored.

What will be the outcome? Prison is no fun and should she be sentenced to a time of incarceration it will prove to be a dramatic change from her prior activities.

If anyone reading has any background on Markey and the services she provided – feel free to comment as I study the behaviors and backgrounds of those indicted and/or convicted for fraud.

White Collar Crime Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…

One Response to Nun Sense – Sister Barbara Markey Pleads Guilty to Theft!

  1. Danziger says:

    Thanks very much for sharing this interesting post. I am just starting up my own blog and this has given me inspiration to what I can achieve.

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