Priest accused of stealing told bishop he was playing ‘hardball’ with unauthorized fees

Windsor Star


The bishop of the London diocese testified Monday that a priest charged with stealing claimed he was charging unauthorized wedding fees to play “hardball” with people wanting to use the church.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro took the witness stand as week two of the trial against Robert Couture began.

“He should not be including a fee for himself,” said Fabbro.

“This idea of playing hardball I thought was not a good pastoral approach.”

Robert Couture, the former pastor of Ste. Anne Parish in Tecumseh, is charged with theft over $5,000. A forensic accountant told court last week Couture stole between $170,000 and $234,000 from 2002 to 2010.

Fabbro said Monday he received a complaint in 2004 from the parents of a couple who got married at Ste. Anne. He said the complaint from the family, referred to in court as the Majors, was about fees that Couture required.

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