Sheriff: Man high on LSD stole from priests
Posted at: 07/30/2012 5:29 PM
| Updated at: 07/30/2012 5:41 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
LAKE GEORGE--The Paulist Fathers travel to their Lake George retreat for peace and quiet. So you can imagine their surprise when they found a young man screaming nonsensical and rambling words outside their Upstate haven Friday night.
"He seemed very confused, agitated. I didn't feel threatened but it didn't seem like he knew what was happening around him," recalls Rev. Larry Rice, CSP, a NYC based priest who resides at the retreat in the summer.
Authorities identify the barefooted and tie dyed intruder found in the woods as John Sgoranno. They claim the 18 year old told them he had take two hits of acid earlier in the evening and the priests report that they found two of their liturgical books, used for Mass, in Sgoranno's possession.
"At one point I asked him to have a seat in the parking lot. He did that for about 30 seconds but then got up and needed to run around some more," said Rice, when asked to describe Sgoranno's alleged erratic behavior.
Sgoranno didn't do any damage to the chapel investigators say be broke into and normally he'd be charged with a misdemeanor. But according to New York State Penal Law, that won't be the case...with this case.
"If there is a religious object used as part of a religious observance or service and the value is over $100, then the charge is elevated to a felony," explains Lt. Steve Stockdale, a spokesman for the Warren County Sheriff's Department.
Fr. Rice hopes, if Sgoranno is found guilty, that he receives treatment and a diversionary program instead of prison.
"We're all about forgiveness but forgiving doesn't mean you are not responsible for your actions," adds Rice.
Fr. Rice says he and other members at the retreat actually detained Sgoranno until Deputies arrived.