Priest with gambling habit facing prison in Vegas

By the Associated Press | January 13, 2012 | 4:50 AM EST

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A defense lawyer is seeking probation and prosecutors are seeking almost three years in federal prison for a Roman Catholic priest who admits siphoning $650,000 from his northwest Las Vegas parish to support his gambling habit.

In documents filed before sentencing on Friday, Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe's attorney asks U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan to let the 59-year-old McAuliffe continue getting counseling for his gambling addiction, keep practicing as a priest and pay restitution to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Summerlin.

A prosecutor counters that 33 months in prison is appropriate, and there's no reason McAuliffe should get a break.

McAuliffe pleaded guilty to three federal mail fraud charges the same day they were filed in October.

He admitted raiding gift shop, votive candle collection and prayer funds.