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Ex-Diocese official expected to plead guilty to stealing money from hospital, priest's estate

A priest who had held one of the highest positions in the Diocese of Manchester in the past decade has signaled he will plead guilty to charges of stealing money from the Catholic diocese, Catholic Medical Center and the estate of a fellow priest, state and federal prosecutors said today.

Edward J. Arsenault III has agreed to spend at least four years in New Hampshire State Prison, under terms of a plea bargain that prosecutors disclosed today. A statement by New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas notes Arseanault's extensive cooperation in the investigation.

During most of the 2000s, Arseanault was the chancellor of the Diocese, an administrative post that made him the right-hand man to former Bishop John McCormack. He was also a board member of CMC.

The job frequently put him in front of cameras during the priest-sex abuse scandals of that decade. In 2009, he left that position to take a $170,000-a-year job at St. Luke Institute, a Maryland-based institution that delivers psychological and spiritual care to priests.

The statement said Arseanault had waived indictments in both Hillsborough County Superior Court-North and Rockingham County Superior Court.

The waivers say:

• From 2005 to 2013, Arsenault stole more than $1,500 from the Bishop of Manchester.

• Between 2009 and 2010, he stole more than $1,500 from CMC.

• Between 2010 and 2012, he stole $1,500 from the estate of the Rev. Msgr. John E. Molan.

The statement gives no further specifics on the amount stolen.

He is to appear in Hillsborough County Superior Court April 23 to plead guilty and be sentenced.

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