Kevin Wallin, a 61-year-old former priest, is expected to plead guilty to "conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, distribute of methamphetamine, and use of a telephone in furtherance of said offenses." Wallin was caught attempting to sell meth to an undercover police officer, the transactions were recorded by the officer. The mandatory sentence for this charge is 10 years in federal prison.
Wallin was a ordained in 1984 and was a priest for 15 years in Connecticut serving at both St. Peter's Church in Danbury and St. Augustine's Cathedral in Bridgeport. As far as the church officials knew he did not sell drugs during his time as a priest, but was sent on sabbatical in 2011 after erratic and unusual behavior was reported.
Wallin also allegedly owned a sex shop where he is thought to have laundered money he received from meth deals. He is believed to have purchased the adult video story after his 2011 retirement from the priesthood after he was caught cross-dressing and having sex in a rectory.
So ... that happened.
Some may remember a similar story of Ted Haggard, who, in 2006, was dismissed from New Life Church in Colorado Springs after allegations surfaced of his own meth use and hiring a male prostitute. When he was accused of his crimes, he held a "press conference" of sorts in his minivan with his wife sitting looking very awkward and uncomfortable next to him.
Watching these stories unfold in real life, and not as the plot of a bad movie on Lifetime, is what — funny? Voyaristic? Or sad and pathetic? I will go with the latter.
Stories of a person's life falling apart are hard to hear, but when that person is a spiritual leader, they become even more difficult to stomach. When a spiritual leader is telling parishioners how to live their lives but does not lead the life he preaches, it's easy to cry hypocrisy. But they are acts committed by humans who are imperfect and who fail.
When reading about stories like that of Wallin or Haggard, or Pat Robertson's latest offensive statement or ridiculous observation, it is easy to dismiss all those who try to defend values and morality. If the example is not set well then why should the rest of us follow it? But the real question of who will fill the position is left unanswered.