By Melissa Quinn
A former Bishop Ireton employee was arrested last week and charged with misusing school property on multiple occasions.
Anthony “Tony” Cortese, who worked as the school’s chief engineer, had been under investigation by the Alexandria Police Department for several weeks. Bishop Ireton and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington — Cortese's employers — worked in conjunction with the police department after learning that the engineer likely sold school property and equipment for private gain going back as far as a year.
“The Bishop Ireton community and the diocese put their trust in Mr. Cortese, and it appears that he repaid that trust by stealing from the school,” said Diocesan Finance Officer Timothy R. Cotnoir. “While we are gratified that this situation was uncovered, it is nevertheless dispiriting to find evidence suggesting that a member of the staff engaged in systematic and sustained fraud and theft against the school.”
Officials at Bishop Ireton believe Cortese sold tools typically used by engineers and maintenance staff, such as pneumatic hammers, said school spokeswoman Mary Kelly. Though the equipment is usually available at local hardware stores, they can be very expensive, she said.
Cortese was fired after the allegations surfaced. Any stolen equipment not recovered from Cortese would be covered by insurance funds, diocese officials said.