Seymour priest accused of stealing, attorney says he tried to pay it back
By Stephanie Simoni
March 2, 2016
SEYMOUR, Conn. (WTNH) — Police say a former priest of St. Augustines is accused of stealing from his flock.
“There were rumors in the church you know? Very sad to hear it,” said an 84 year old woman who did not want to be identified and says she’s been attending St. Augustine’s ever since she was born. She knows the accused, Father Honore Kombo, 50, and the man who police say entrusted Kombo with his money.
“He was an older man who died. He was alone left a lot of money,” she said. “Everyone liked him [Kombo]. He was a happy priest. Very sad to hear what happened.”
Police say a large chunk of cash was supposed to be dispersed every year for 5 years, but the church only saw 4 years of the money. Officers say church leaders got wind of the missing 5th installment and called them.
“It was a very tedious investigation. There’s a lot of interviews to conduct, phone records to go through, bank records, statements,” said Seymour Police Department’s Deputy Chief Paul Satkowski.
Police say a nearly 10 month long investigation revealed the crime. Seymour detectives say they found Kombo deposited over $20,000 into his own bank account.
Satkowski, “Money was sent back to his native land of the Congo where I think some of that money was used for other purposes there.”
The Archdiocese of Hartford sent this statement:
“The arrest of Fr. Honore Kombo comes after the Archdiocese of Hartford and St. Augustine’s Catholic Church of Seymour filed a complaint with the Seymour police after discovering that funds were missing from the parish. Father Kombo was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese in July, and in November, he was advised that he could no longer serve as a priest in the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese along will St. Augustine Church will continue to cooperate fully with the police and prosecutor.” – Archdiocese of Hartford
Kombo cooperated with police and turned himself in yesterday. He posted bond and is staying at this Weston home. No one came to the door when News 8’s Stpehanie Simoni knocked on the door.
Komb’s attorney William Paetzold sent this statement and said, “Fr. Kombo has been extraordinarily cooperative throughout the police investigation. He is a pious man who has given his life to serving God and other charitable endeavors. Unfortunately, he used the money from the Church for a charitable purpose involving a third world African country without first obtaining the Church’s authorization. He has every intention of paying back the Church. In fact, prior to his arrest he offered to pay the Church the entire sum but they declined to accept the money.”