Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grand Jury returns 20-count indictment of felony theft charges against Rev. Armstrong

More news from Colorado Springs-

A Fourth Judicial District grand jury Wednesday indicted the Rev. Donald Armstrong on 20 felony counts of theft charges, concluding a months-long investigation by Colorado Springs police and the Pueblo District Attorney's Office into Armstrong's financial conduct while he was rector of Grace Church & St. Stephen's parish.

Armstrong, who ministers to about 600 people a week, surrendered to police Thursday and was jailed at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center until posting $20,000 bail later in the day.

If convicted on all 20 felony counts, Armstrong, 60, could spend the rest of his life in prison. Each count comes with a possible prison sentence of four to 12 years, said Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut. Fines against Armstrong could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The DA's office did not provide a breakdown of the 20 counts. But in a search warrant executed by police in November on Grace Church & St. Stephen's, Colorado Springs police Detective Michael Flynn sought evidence suggesting Armstrong had funneled money from the church to pay for his two children's college educations.

On Friday, Armstrong was upbeat about the indictment, saying it was expected and that he is confident he will be cleared of the charges.

"I will, after years of unbridled false accusations, have my day in court, so this is a good step in that direction," said Armstrong, whose Anglican parish is now called St. George's Anglican Church.

Much more-

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