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Published: Monday, 3/26/2012

Gesu Catholic Church says missing cash totals $510,000

Fiscal obligations covered, letter says

Cryan Cryan

The pastor of Gesu Catholic Church told parishioners Sunday that the money the parish learned was missing in August amounted to $510,000, and he reassured them that despite the loss, parish and school financial obligations were being met.

In a letter read at all Masses, the Rev. Jim Cryan said the amount was determined through an investigation by the Diocese of Toledo and law enforcement.

The investigation began in late 2007 when officials learned the money was missing from the West Toledo parish and ended last August, when parishioners were informed of what the letter termed fraud.

No suspects have been identified.

“As your pastor, let me express my profound sadness that this incident was perpetrated against Gesu. As people of God, we are mindful of the many frailties in our world, but I admit that this apparent transgression is especially painful against our Catholic community,” his statement said.

Law enforcement was involved in the investigation, and church officials were cooperating with the authorities “as they determine the appropriate actions regarding this matter,” he said in the statement.

Gesu is part of the Toledo Catholic Diocese but is staffed by priests from the Toledo-Detroit Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

Sally Oberski, spokesman for the Toledo diocese, said she and the chancellor, the Rev. Monte J. Hoyles, were unaware that the letter would be read at Masses and declined to comment on it.

Father Cryan, who will retire this summer, could not be reached. The Oblates announced that the Rev. Marty Lukas will replace him beginning July 2. Ms. Oberski said the retirement was not connected with the missing money.

The letter said a small committee of parish members versed in legal, accounting, and organizational procedures was formed and will operate independently of the finance committee and is to review the parish’s options. He said the process could be lengthy.

The letter reassured parishioners that “despite the substantial size of the fraud, our parish’s overall financial condition remains solid.”

All parish and school financial obligations were being met and the finance committee has changed its internal control structure and policies to prevent “the risk of future fraud,” the letter said.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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