EDMOND — St. John the Baptist Catholic Church officials reported to Edmond police that an audit has revealed $109,454 may have been embezzled from the church, according to a police report released Tuesday.
The possible embezzlement at the church at 924 S Littler is believed to have occurred from Jan. 1, 2004, to Feb. 1, the report said. Police were notified Friday.
A parishioner said the church's pastor spoke to the congregation about the case after Mass on Sunday.
Police spokeswoman Jennifer Monroe said more will be released once a detective has time to speak with a suspect and conduct an investigation.
The suspect was not named in the police report or in an email statement from the church.
“During a recent parish assessment project, a possible misappropriation of church funds by a church employee was discovered,” the email stated. “In consultation with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, an independent CPA firm was retained to conduct a review of certain books and records of the church to ascertain what had actually happened.”
The statement said the church would cooperate fully with authorities.
The Rev. Ray Ackerman was appointed pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in April. He was not available Tuesday for comment.
A parishioner said Ackerman told the congregation after Sunday's Mass that authorities were investigating the case.
“What a tough deal for Father Ray (Ackerman) to walk in on,” said Steve Gust, a parishioner of the church since 1988. “What I liked was when (Ackerman) said, ‘In the tradition of Catholicism, we would be merciful ... but at the same time want justice.'”
Ackerman told the congregation it had been recommended the church have better internal controls over its finances, Gust said.
“He said the overall financial status of the church was good,” Gust said.
The Rev. John Metzinger also had told the congregation just before he left that an investigation into possible misappropriation was under way, Gust said. Metzinger, a longtime pastor at St. John the Baptist, in April was appointed pastor of Our Lady's Cathedral in Oklahoma City.