Reverend Timothy Kane, a Catholic priest, who served at parishes in Detroit and was also a former prison chaplain, took the stand on October 7 to deny allegations of having stolen money from a charity fund for the poor. He also testified that diabetes caused him confusion, which is why he signed a confession with the police following his arrest in February this year.
However, after a jury of eight men and four women heard testimony for a little longer than an hour on Tuesday, they found the 58-year-old priest guilty on six counts of theft concerning Angel Fund Charity. The verdict against Kane was delivered before Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Marrow. Kane is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12.
Since his arrest in February, Kane has not been allowed to wear his priest uniform. He even turned up for his hearing on Tuesday wearing a suit and tie. The embezzlement in question concerns a sum between $1,000 and $20,000. Apart from theft, Kane was charged with conspiracy as well as submitting fraudulent documents. Before his hearing, Kane was offered a plea deal, which he declined.
Money for the fund reportedly came in from an anonymous donor and it was available for priests in Hamtramck, Highland Park and Detroit so they could use it to cater to the needs of poor people. The anonymous donor had given as much as $17 million to Angel Fund Charity since 2005. However, after Kane’s arrest earlier this year, the fund was discontinued. Officials have said the decision to discontinue the fund was independent of the fraud.
After the verdict, Kane refused to comment. His lawyer Steven Scharg said he would discuss an appeal for his client.
“It's unfortunate that there's really not a winner. My client is a priest who maintained his innocence throughout the trial,” said Scharg. “The Angel Fund is out of service and people who need it most are without the help they need.”
In his defense, Kane said he did not steal any money from the fund and his diabetic low blood sugar led him to feel confused and wrongly sign a confession. He also denied being in asexual relationship with a prison inmate, who prosecutors believe was Kane’s partner in establishing a ploy to make fraudulent requests for charity money from the fund. He also denied that he had received any kickbacks from those who received financial aid from Angel Fund Charity.
Ned McGrath, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Detroit said, “It's disheartening that money was stolen from the Angel Fund, but even more so that a member of our own clergy betrayed our trust and the intent of the fund. We are praying for healing for the community and for all those involved.”
Photo Credits: Wanye County Sheriff