Catholic Dioceses Have Embezzlement Problem
Report Did Not Estimate Amount Of Money Lost VILLANOVA, Pa. -- An overwhelming majority ofrespondents in a study of financial controls in U.S. Roman Catholicdioceses reported cases of embezzlement in the last five years.Eighty-five percent of the diocesan administrators who took part in thereview told Villanova University researchers that internal thefts hadbeen uncovered in their dioceses. The report, written byVillanova professors Charles Zech and Robert West and supported by agrant from the Louisville Institute, did not include an estimate of themoney lost. But 11 percent of respondents said total embezzlements inthe last five years exceeded $500,000, while 29 percent reported casesof less than $50,000.
In nearly all of the cases, police reports were filed, the survey found.Zech and West undertook the study in response to the clergy sex abusecrisis, which brought pressure on bishops to disclose how much they hadpaid in abuse-related costs and to be more open with parishioners ingeneral about diocesan finances. Forty-five percent of themore than 170 U.S. dioceses responded to questions for the report,which was released Dec. 13. The authors recommended dioceses establishfraud policies, conduct annual audits of parishes and establish auniform budgeting process that uses standardized software.
Auditors Find Misconduct In Orthodox Church
In related news, a probe of financial wrongdoing in the Orthodox Churchin America has confirmed claims of impropriety that outside auditorssaid "centered on and around one individual." Former churchchancellor Robert Kondratick's lawyer said "it's pretty obvious" thatthe unidentified person mentioned in the report is his client, butinsists that Kondratick did nothing wrong. The Orthodox Churchin America's Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod of Bishops say theauditors uncovered a "pattern of personal use of church money" foryears. Among the wrongdoing auditors said they found werefalsified financial reports and attempts to divert money that had beendonated to charity.
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