After news broke that Staten Island priest Rev. William Blasingame was accused of stealing $80,000 from his parish to fund his plastic surgery, Botox injections, prescription drugs, club memberships, and clothes, other accounts of his apparently unpriestly behavior have emerged. The Staten Island Advance rolls with this punch, "Days before a Staten Island priest was charged with stealing from his church, he pressured an 88-year-old partially blind and deaf woman into returning his former dog, which she had come to depend upon."
Audrey Tuohey had adopted Andrew the dog from Staten Island Center for Animal Care and Control because Blasingame left it "flea-ridden and undernourished" at the rectory when he moved earlier this year. But then Blasingame wanted the dog back, and took out an ad in the Advance (picture here) saying, "Andrew was illegally surrendered to the Staten Island Center for Animal Care and Control by his caregiver while owner was hospitalized," and insinuated that Tuohey had promised to give him back.
Tuohey, who says Andrew had helped her because she can't hear the doorbell anymore, "I never promised. I don't know where he got the idea that I promised to give the dog back. I never break my word." Still, she returned the dog, who apparently wasn't excited to see his old owner.
Over at the Post, a family claims that Blasingame took their money for their aunt's ashes to be buried on the grounds of St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church, but Blasingame never followed through. Doris Harris was shocked that a priest would do something like that but said of her late aunt, "She catered to the church. But she would forgive him, because she was not a hateful person." And Harris is relieved because a St. Paul's official said her aunt's ashes could be buried there (and there never was a fee).
Blasingame hasn't commented about any of the accusations; his lawyer told the Advance, "I think he's hiding. Wouldn't you hide?" His lawyer also said of St. Paul's claim that his client stole from the parish, "If your kid steals some money off the top of your dresser, is that a crime? If your wife takes money from your pocket, is that a crime?"