ABC 30

By Kate Valentine
Friday, January 02, 2015

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) — A former Tulare priest accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from parishioners has bailed out of jail. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is reaching out to members to help calm any concerns.

Questions surround former priest Ignacio Villafan of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Tulare. This week he was arrested and charged with embezzling $425,000.

The Diocese of Fresno was first told about accounting problems several years ago at St. Rita’s. That’s when they put Villafan on paid administrative leave. They also contacted Tulare police.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said, “Tulare Police Department did a lengthy thorough investigation and based on that we were able to file charges.”

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