VENTURA — Saying problems with their case are too severe to overcome, Ventura County prosecutors announced Friday that they will not seek to retry a Simi Valley priest accused of stealing more than $50,000 from his former parish.
Father David Dean Piroli smiled broadly after the announcement in Superior Court, but did not say whether he plans to seek reinstatement as a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Piroli was acquitted March 18 of one count of embezzlement from Sacred Heart Church in Saticoy after a six-week trial. The jury deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal on a felony grand theft charge related to an alleged theft from St. Peter Claver Church in Simi Valley.
Piroli has been under suspension as a priest since May, 1992, when police in Hollywood were called to roust loiterers outside a Sears Roebuck & Co. store and found the priest sitting in his church-owned car with a young Mexican national. Police reported that they found traces of cocaine and $10,000 in small bills in the car.