The investigation did not involve Saint Luke Institute, a prominent education and counseling center based in Silver Spring, Md., with sites in other parts of the U.S. and in Britain. The center treats priests with a range of mental illnesses and has played a key role in addressing the problem of sexually abusive clergy.
Before he was sentenced, Arsenault apologized to "the many people I have harmed, including the priests and the faithful."
"Today is only the beginning of the consequences of my criminal behavior," Arsenault said.
Arsenault was sentenced to four-to-20 years, including a deferred, two-year sentence that the judge has the option to tack on when Arsenault returns to court after the four years are up. He was also ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution.
As he was escorted from the courtroom, his hands cuffed behind his back, he paused briefly in front of the prosecution table and awkwardly extended a handshake to Young.
His attorney, Cathy Green, told Hillsborough North Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi, Arsenault "was the person who held the diocese together" during the priest sex abuse scandals a decade ago. She called his prison sentence "significant."
Arsenault had been McCormack's top lieutenant, handling both the clergy sexual abuse crisis and orchestrating the church's new child protection policies. Bishop John Libasci, in a statement issued on behalf of himself and McCormack, said Arsenault stole more than money.
"Many of the faithful and former co-workers inevitably will be left with a profound sense of betrayal and mistrust," Libasci said.
CMC President Joseph Pepe said the hospital is saddened by Arsenault's criminal conduct, but relieved that Arsenault is being held accountable.
Young said the investigation began last year, after church officials and parishioners came to the attorney general's office and said they suspected large sums of money had been misappropriated. She stressed that Arsenault cooperated fully and will continue to cooperate as investigators look into whether anyone else was involved.