Bishop: No one took money from church accounts

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The leader of the Biloxi Catholic Diocese said Thursday there's no truth to rumors that a local pastor embezzled church funds.

Bishop Roger Morin recently met with some members of the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church who have been very outspoken about their concerns. They claim Father James Chau Pham moved hundreds of thousands of dollars in church money to secret accounts, and stopped giving quarterly financial reports.

On Thursday, Bishop Morin issued the following statement: "While there had not been a clear understanding of existing directives and there have been some mistakes made due to unacceptable procedures, it does not appear that anyone intended to divert funds for personal use. While the pastor was not provided all of the information concerning funds on deposit in various bank accounts, no one took money from the church accounts. There is no proof of theft by embezzlement or otherwise."

Bishop Morin said all of the parish's funds are now kept in accounts held in the name of Vietnamese Martyrs Church. And that Father Pham is the authorized signatory on all existing accounts.

In May, parishioners marched in protest in front of the church wearing shirts that read "Hear Our Cries." The protest was even covered by the Saigon Broadcasting Television Network, which broadcasts Vietnamese language television and radio programming throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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