Sunday, October 09, 2005


Former church secretary gets 3 years in prison

And the hat trick from YH. It's worth repeating that it is estimated that at least 20% of churches in the U.S. are targets of embezzlement of one sort or another.

A former secretary pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing nearly $50,000 from Danville's Trinity Episcopal Church, agreeing to a recommended sentence of three years in prison.

It was the second time Kristin M. Goodlett entered a guilty plea in the case, which charges her with 36 counts of theft from the church in 2003 and 2004. Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler refused to sign off on the first plea deal in June that recommended Goodlett serve only one year in jail for the church thefts. Peckler has yet to accept the latest deal. Final sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Under the current plea agreement, Goodlett, 28, of Harrodsburg, would also have to pay restitution of $49,765 to Zurich North American, which insured the church against theft.

Goodlett worked as secretary at the Main Street church for about three years. She was charged last year with writing extra checks on church accounts for her own benefit, and also writing checks for improper amounts and pocketing the difference.

Under the plea agreement, Goodlett received a recommended sentence of three years for each of the 36 counts in the indictment. But those sentences would run concurrently, meaning that she would serve only three years in prison.

When she was charged in December 2004, Goodlett was still on probation from a 1999 case in which she was accused of stealing about $1,300 from a sporting goods store where she worked. In that case, she was sentenced to two years in prison, but prosecutors recommended her jail sentence be diverted in exchange for a guilty plea, and she did not commit any other crimes for five years.

Under her plea deal, Goodlett would not face any additional jail time for breaking the conditions of her probation in the 1999 case.

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

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