Armstrong guilty

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

DENVER – An ecclesiastical court on Wednesday convicted the Rev. Donald Armstrong of stealing nearly $400,000 from his Colorado Springs parish, though it cannot legally punish the breakaway pastor.

The court of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado will decide in about a month, however, whether to recommend that Bishop Robert O’Neill defrock Armstrong, a largely symbolic action that would end all ties between the church and him.

Armstrong left the diocese with a majority of the Grace Church & St. Stephen’s vestry board in March and now oversees the congregation of the Grace CANA Church that is affiliated with the more conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America. His spokesman, Alan Crippen, said the Episcopal Diocese does not have authority over Armstrong.

Read it here.

The press release from the Diocese is here (pdf). Extract:

The five members of the Ecclesiastical Court found unanimously that the Rev. Don Armstrong is guilty on all Counts included in the Motion for Summary Judgment in his case. Those counts are: Count 1 – commission of crimes, including theft of $392,409.93 from Grace Church, and causing Grace Church to issue false W-2s and underreport Armstrong’s income andbenefits by $548,097.27; Count 2 – that Armstrong received illegal loans totaling $122,479.16 in violation of Diocesan Canons; Count 3 – unauthorized encumbrance and alienation of Grace Church’s real property; Count 4 – violation of the temporary inhibition placed on Armstrong; Count 5 – the improper use of clergy discretionary funds; and Count 6 – failure to maintain proper books of account.

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