Kerry Ann Keen lived a dream life of overseas trips and Louis Vuitton shopping sprees – but it was all funded by stolen church donations.
Kerry Ann Keen lived a dream life of overseas trips and Louis Vuitton shopping sprees – but it was all funded by stolen church donations.

She stole from the Vatican to fly and buy Vuitton

Hers was an indulgent lifestyle of frequent overseas trips and thousand-dollar shopping sprees in the designer boutiques of Las Vegas, London and Venice.

On Tuesday, self-styled jetsetter Kerry Ann Keen came crashing back to earth as the District Court jailed her for siphoning the Catholic Church's collection plates to fund her lavish ways.

Judge Stephen McEwen said nothing less than five years jail could adequately punish Keen for having lived "indulgently and luxuriously" off donations that had been given in good faith.

"You've demonstrated no remorse or contrition, and you continue to deny the theft in the face of what is plainly overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence," he said.

"This was protracted, calculated dishonestly over a prolonged period involving a large sum of money to fund an indulgent lifestyle in breach of the trust afforded to you."

Keen, centre, tried to claim a colleague was the “real thief”, but the court rejected her assertions. Picture: Sean Fewster.
Keen, centre, tried to claim a colleague was the “real thief”, but the court rejected her assertions. Picture: Sean Fewster.

Between July 2010 and May 2014, Keen, 57, of Glenelg, worked for a security company that was contracted to collect, count and transport the Catholic Church's donations.

She abused her position of trust to steal $340,000 of the money she counted - amounting to between 23 and 34 per cent of the $10,000 the church normally received each week.

Keen was caught on CCTV placing bundles of cash on her desk and then in her handbag.

She used her offending to pay for 17 overseas trip in four years and spend $97,000 at retail and department stores.

Keen spent $27,000 on Louis Vuitton designer goods alone, shopping at the brand's stores in Australia, Las Vegas, London and Venice.

Keen stole between 23 and 34 per cent of the church’s donations and spent them on overseas trips and designer goods.
Keen stole between 23 and 34 per cent of the church’s donations and spent them on overseas trips and designer goods.

At trial, Keen claimed a colleague was "the real thief" and she had been "set up" - those assertions were rejected and she was found guilty.

In sentencing on Tuesday, Judge McEwen said Keen's employer - who had considered her a "trusted friend" as well as an employee - had also been devastated by her crimes.

He said a psychological report showed "no mental health issue, substance abuse problem or psychological dysfunction" that explained her offending.

"I consider that anything other than a term of imprisonment, to be served in jail and immediately, would send the wrong message," he said.

He ordered she serve at least three years in jail before becoming eligible to seek release on parole.

Originally published as Stole from the Vatican to fly and buy Vuitton


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