‘We Would Be Pressured Into Donating’: Parents of Students at Torrance Catholic School That Nuns Allegedly Embezzled From Say It Was Always Strapped for Cash

The exterior of St. James Catholic School in Torrance is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The exterior of St. James Catholic School in Torrance is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Parents whose children attended St. James Catholic School in Torrance long believed that the campus was financially strapped.

Textbooks were 2 decades old. There wasn’t enough money for new basketball uniforms. When parents would ask, year after year, for an awning to shade their children’s outdoor lunch area, the principal, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, would respond, “How do you expect to pay for it?”

“We would be pressured into donating,” said Jack Alexander, whose three children attended the K-8 school from 2003 to 2016. “We were always told how little money we had and how the sisters were so poor.”

All the while, Kreuper and her vice principal, Sister Lana Chang, spoke openly about trips they’d taken to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, parents said. The nuns lived together for years in a townhouse in a gated Torrance neighborhood and pulled up to campus in separate Volvos. Chang, they explained, had wealthy relatives who provided for them.

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