An arrest warrant for grand theft embezzlement has been issued for a former Sioux Falls priest.

Dakota News Now is reporting that former pastor David Desmond has been indicted for inappropriate receipt and use of parish funds. The news was made public in a statement released by Bishop Paul Swain on Friday (January 31).  

Desmond was formally a pastor at the parish of Saint Mary Church in Sioux Falls.

According to Dakota News Now, Desmond resigned and was placed on leave on (July 10), 2019, after being notified of inattentiveness to pastoral responsibilities and repeated absences from the parish.

Following Desmond's departure, a review of the financial records of the parish was conducted by the Finance Office of the diocese. The findings revealed a number of irregularities.

A forensic accounting examination of parish financial records showed multiple examples of irregularities. The examination revealed questionable bank disbursements, and Desmond's use of altered or duplicated receipts that were submitted for reimbursement. $95,394.87 in questionable parish disbursements were identified over a 5-year period.

Dakota News Now reports a grand jury convened by the Minnehaha County States Attorney issued an indictment against Desmond for grand theft embezzlement. That move resulted in a warrant for Desmond's arrest.

The church parish is insured for employee dishonesty, and Dakota News Now reports that a claim has been filed with the insurer to cover the losses sustained.

In the wake of the incident, Saint Mary Church is holding a public meeting on Thursday (February 6) at 7:00 PM to discuss the matter with its parishioners.

Source: Dakota News Now

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