EDMOND — A former business manager accused of embezzling more than $58,000 from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church ordered a gun holster, grenade pouch and survival guide online and paid for the items with a church-issued American Express card, court documents show.
Bill Dwight Coyle, 62, of Edmond, was charged Monday in Oklahoma County District Court with eight counts of violating the state's computer crimes act.
Among 880 items Coyle bought from Amazon.com with church money over a 12-year period were three movies — including “Apocalypse Now” — a pair of water shoes and tiger stripe military pants totaling $196.89, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges.
Most of the items Coyle purchased and had delivered to the church “were not religious items,” Edmond police reported.
Coyle, who also was a church deacon, was fired earlier this year after a co-worker told church officials he owed more than $58,000.
Accountant Lynda Hearn told police investigators Coyle owed the church $58,341, a total that “had accumulated over many years,” according to the affidavit.
An independent audit that led to a police investigation revealed that “Coyle appeared to benefit from” an additional $20,454 in church funds. Another $32,313 in purchases made with the church's Discover and American Express cards are unaccounted for but could be linked to Coyle, the affidavit states.
Coyle, police reported, acknowledged during a February meeting with church officials that he spent $58,000 of church funds on himself.
Coyle's canonical faculties were suspended at that time, the affidavit shows.
Coyle was not in custody Tuesday evening. He could not be reached for comment.
His attorney, Tom Riesen, said “we don't feel like it's appropriate to comment at this time.”
Hearn, 51, worked with Coyle for more than a decade.
The accountant told investigators she watched over the years as Coyle used church credit cards and a church cellphone “for his own personal gain,” the affidavit states.
The audit shows that in October 2010, Coyle gave the Discover card to his grandson, Cody Coyle, who used the card “on an almost daily basis from then until Coyle left the church between February and July, when police began investigating the embezzlement allegations, police reported.
The affidavit also reveals Coyle used the American Express card to pay for more than $18,000 in purchases since 2000. Another $3,283.19 was used to pay for two church-owned cellphones, including one Coyle gave to his grandson to use, police reported.
Hearn said she would speak with Coyle about the charges he was “accruing,” and he would say “he would work something out,” a detective wrote in the affidavit. She kept a tab of Coyle's expenditures and paid the credit card bills, the detective said.
Coyle, the accountant told investigators, would sometimes give her money that would be deposited into the church bank account.
Hearn said Coyle “was very negative toward (the Rev. John) Metzinger's leadership and did not agree with his business or ministry decisions,” the detective reported.
Metzinger, a longtime pastor at St. John's, was appointed pastor of Our Lady's Cathedral in Oklahoma City in April. He was succeeded at St. John's by the Rev. Ray Ackerman.
The co-worker said Coyle became “more and more negative toward Metzinger and the church because he felt like he should have received more compensation for his work on a church lawsuit that was settled in 2010,” the detective wrote in the affidavit.
Metzinger told investigators Coyle worked on a lawsuit involving the church and an architect, and the former pastor said he gave Coyle a $1,000 bonus for his efforts, according to the affidavit.
The bonus, Hearn told investigators, “made Coyle angry because he thought he deserved more.”
Coyle then stopped attempting to pay any money back to the church, the accountant told police.
She told investigators she decided to report the alleged abuse when she learned a parish assessment was being done.
She wrote a letter to Metzinger detailing her concerns about how Coyle had been using the credit cards and cellphones for purposes other than church business, the affidavit states.
Hearn, an accountant with the church since 2001, is not suspected of a crime, Edmond police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said.
Chancellor Tish Eason, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, which oversees St. John the Baptist, declined to comment Tuesday, other than to say the archdiocese has cooperated with police in their investigation.
Metzinger could not be reached for comment.
The investigation began in July as an embezzlement complaint when an audit revealed more than $109,000 missing from the church at 924 S Littler Ave., according to an Edmond police report. Coyle was business manager of the church at the time, the report states. The money was thought to have gone missing between Jan. 1, 2004, and Feb. 1, 2012.