Friday, December 11, 2015

Ontario priest guilty of stealing up to $234,000 from his own church

A disgraced man of the cloth will retain the title of priest despite being found guilty Thursday of stealing as much as $234,000 from his own church.

A jury needed just a few hours of deliberation to find Rev. Robert Couture guilty of theft over $5,000.

Spokeswoman Emma Moynihan said the Catholic Diocese of London won’t move to have the former pastor of Tecumseh’s Ste. Anne Parish defrocked, but they also don’t plan to put him back in a church.

“He will still have the title of priest but he won’t have any of his faculties,” she said, adding the diocese only tries to defrock priests in sexual abuse cases. “It’s very difficult to get the title of priest removed. It’s a decision that the Pope has to make. So as of right now it is unlikely that title will be removed.”

From 2002 to 2010, when he was put on administrative leave, Couture stole between $170,000 and $234,000 from Ste. Anne Parish. He did it by pilfering from collection plates, donations from funerals, weddings, baptisms and mass donations, and what the prosecutor called a “bogus” bank account he set up in the church’s name.  (more...)

I grew up in this diocese, just a brisk hike from Ste. Anne's. Not a problem unique to SW Ontario:

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