Thursday, June 11, 2009

Former Priest in Court for Alleged Embezzlement

A pastor accused of using hundreds of thousands of dollars from a church he led, has appeared in court to face theft charges from a grand jury indictment.

Authorities say the Rev. Donald Armstrong may have taken as much as $392,000 from Grace Episcopal Church and St. Stephen's Parish, and used some of the money to pay for his children's college education.

Armstrong headed the congregation before he and his followers broke away in 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America after the allegations against him surfaced.

A judge on Wednesday scheduled Armstrong's next hearing for July 22. Armstrong's attorney says the move will give the judge time to review transcripts from the grand jury.

He has denied wrongdoing.

The followers at his new church are standing behind him, saying, "We are looking forward to having a judge and jury determine the merits of these allegations. Father Armstrong has done nothing wrong and will be found innocent."

Police say Rev. Donald Armstrong took the funds to pay for his kids' college tuition. "It has been a very lengthy investigation," says Lt. David Whitlock with the Colorado Springs Police Department, "[investigators] have been putting a lot of hard work into it and they're not done yet."

An affidavit from CSPD states that Armstrong misused $392,000 and that he wrote monthly checks from July 1999 to March 2006. Those were the years Armstrong's children were in college. "There are hundreds upon thousands of pages of information that need to be looked at," says Whitlock of the lengthy investigation, "as well as computer records."

More here-

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