Shock and anger over drug dealing, cross dressing monsignor
Following his suspension, parishioners have been stunned by revelations about a popular and knowledgeable monsignor.
A Catholic priest busted for allegedly dealing crystal meth was suspended after church officials discovered he was a cross-dresser who was having sex in the rectory at Bridgeport's St. Augustine Cathedral.
Monsignor Kevin Wallin was relieved of his duties in May, but the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport had continued to pay him a stipend until his Jan. 3 arrest -- a day he was planning to fly to London on vacation.
Now dubbed "Msgr. Meth" by some, Wallin seemed to live a life that easily could have been ripped from the script of "Breaking Bad," the popular AMC series about a high school chemistry teacher turned crystal methamphetamine producer. At one point, Wallin was selling upwards of $9,000 of meth a week, according to his indictment.
In his post-priesthood, Wallin, 61, bought an adult specialty and video store in North Haven called Land of Oz that sells sex toys and X-rated DVDs. Investigators believe the shop helped him launder thousands of dollars in weekly profits.
Wallin's arrest sent shock waves through the Bridgeport and Danbury communities where he was known as a charismatic speaker who was involved in many charitable activities, and who enjoyed Broadway musicals and show tunes. He often attended musicals with his mentor, former N.Y. Cardinal Edward Egan and parishioners.
"There is an evil invading our world and it has come to our church," said Maria Spencer-Fonseca, a long-time parishioner at St. Augustine as she stood outside the cathedral Thursday. "This was a work of evil -- and I am praying for the monsignor."
"I can't fathom it," said 77-year-old Therese Ruppert, a parishioner at the Church of St. Peter in Danbury, where Wallin was pastor from 1996 to 2002. "He was so spiritual. His sermons were wonderful. He had such knowledge of theology."
Wallin, who is represented by a federal public defender, is charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. He has been detained without bond pending an arraignment next week.
Diocese officials stressed that they had no information that Wallin was selling drugs when he was pastor of St. Augustine's Cathedral or when he previously served as pastor of St. Peter Parish.
Ordained in 1984, he served in Bridgeport from that year until 1996, when he went to Danbury. He returned to Bridgeport in 2002 and remained until his resignation in 2011.
"We had no indication he had a drug problem and never had complaints regarding him and drugs," said Diocese Spokesman Brian Wallace.
Instead, Wallace said they became concerned in the spring of 2011 when they began receiving complaints from parishioners regarding Wallin's appearance and erratic behavior.
"We approached him and he admitted he was struggling a bit and shortly after that he resigned (July 2011) and the bishop granted him a sabbatical," Wallace said.
Wallin did go for a health assessment but then didn't go for follow-up examinations and subsequently dropped out of sight. As a result, Wallace said Wallin was suspended.
But sources knowledgeable with the case said the situation went deeper than diocese officials will publicly admit.
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