St. Luke Institute head resigns — under investigation for financial transactions in home diocese

MANCHESTER, NH- Former top Diocese of Manchester official Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault is under investigation by the N.H. Attorney General’s Office for “improper financial transactions,” according to a release Monday afternoon from the Diocese.

A review by the Diocese discovered evidence suggesting improper financial transactions by Arsenault involving diocesan funds, according to the statement.

Because the diocese was concerned that illegal acts may have been committed, church officials reported the matter to the attorney general, the statement said, which also indicated the diocese is cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation.

The statement went on to say the diocese cannot discuss this matter further and will offer more information when it is appropriate to do so.

Arsenault held several senior positions in diocesan leadership from January 1999 to February 2009. Since October 2009, he has been serving as president and chief executive officer of St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Md. The Diocese said Arsenault has resigned from that post and will refrain from all public ministry, pending the outcome of the investigations.

Bishop Peter A. Libasci of the Diocese of Manchester said, “I am committed to reviewing our internal diocesan operations to ensure that any issues are identified and corrected, as necessary. We will do this in the light of day. In the meantime, we will be cooperating fully with the attorney general’s investigation. Please join with me in keeping all those involved in your prayers.”

In a statement from Catholic Medical Center signed by
CMC President/CEO Dr. Joseph Pepe and board chairman Joseph Graham, the hospital said, “In light of the discovery of evidence suggesting improper financial transactions by Msgr. Edward Arsenault involving diocesan funds, CMC recently asked the New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General to review a specific contract for consulting services between CMC and Msgr. Arsenault. The contract was signed in 2009 after Msgr. Arsenault’s resignation from the CMC Board of Directors. The contract ended in 2010.

“Given the serious allegations involving Msgr. Arsenault, it is our desire to proactively shed light on this contract by seeking a thorough review by the attorney general. We do not know whether this contract will have any bearing on the current investigation, but in the interest of openness and transparency, we have asked for this review. We will cooperate fully with the attorney general’s investigation.”

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