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A lawyer planned to ask a federal judge on Friday to reject a call for almost three years of prison time and instead give probation to a Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to siphoning $650,000 over eight years from his northwest Las Vegas parish gift shop, votive candle collection and prayer funds to support his gambling habit.

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

As an ordained priest, McAuliffe will "continue to atone for his wrongdoing as he carries on with his life-long obligations and service" to the church, attorney Margaret Stanish said in Jan. 6 documents. She quoted excerpts from some of about 100 letters of support from supporters and parishioners at one of the largest church congregations in Nevada.


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