Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Report details ex-pastor’s spending

Scottsdale, Arizona - A former Scottsdale pastor accused of stealing $67,000 from his church spent the money on his own wedding and a large amount of bills, police said.

A 42-page report released last week by Scottsdale police details the month-by-month charges the Rev. Patrick Shetler, 48, drained from a bank account of Glass and Garden Community Church, 8620 E. McDonald Drive.

The charges from 2004 include $5,000 on the wedding, more than $7,000 in electric bills and nearly $2,000 in cell phone expenses, plus car and mortgage payments, the report states.

That same year, Shetler wrote nearly $25,000 in checks to "Patrick" and withdrew nearly $27,000 from ATMs, the report states. Police estimate he spent an average of about $9,200 of the church’s money per month.

Police officials said the total amount of the theft could rise because Shetler opened credit card accounts in his and the church’s names, and some financial documents have not been recovered.

Church officials fired Shetler in July.

"Shetler stated he was having financially difficulty, he was paying child support, he was going to counseling, and his new wife had been ill," wrote Scottsdale police detective Tanya Corder. "Shetler again acknowledged what he did was wrong but advised that he was financially strained."

Shetler filed bankruptcy with his second wife in September 2004, with debts owed to more than 100 companies, U.S. Bankruptcy Court records show.

Scottsdale police have turned the case over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

An attorney in the office will determine in the next week whether to file felony theft and fraud charges against Shetler or whether more investigation is needed, said Bill FitzGerald, spokesman for the office.

Right now, Shetler — who was released without bail after his arrest — is focused on getting a job so the church’s governing board can stop paying for his food, rent and other expenses, said the Rev. Richard Koerselman of New Hope Community Church in Gilbert.

"Pat is doing much better — he’s much stronger," Koerselman said.

"He’s feeling ready to go out and apply for work," he said, adding that Shetler will likely be doing some type of landscaping or construction work.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


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