Friday, December 4, 2015

Ca-ching: Reverend accused of stealing as much as $234,000 from parish has $350,000 stashed away for retirement

At age 43 — with hundreds of thousands in retirement savings — Rev. Robert Couture was already talking about being able to retire comfortably.

“I was moving in that direction,” Couture, 53, testified Wednesday in his criminal trial.

The former pastor of Tecumseh’s Ste. Anne Parish spent Day 8 of his trial on the witness stand Wednesday taking questions from his lawyer and the prosecutor.

Couture is charged with theft over $5,000. He is accused of stealing from the church between $170,000 and $234,000 from 2002 to 2010.

Couture told defence lawyer Patrick Ducharme that, despite discussion about meagre priest wages at trial, his total gross income was $85,000 to $95,000 a year. He said his gross priest salary was about $23,000 a year, plus room and board worth about $12,000.

He said he was also paid $10,000 annually during his 19-year stint as a school board trustee and made about $3,000 a year as a part-time teacher.

The rest of that $85,000 to $95,000 income came from doing weddings, funerals, baptisms and other events.  (more...)

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