Group wants to raise $300K for Fr. Jonathan Wehrle ahead of priest’s embezzlement trial

Lansing State Journal

July 10, 2018

By Christopher Haxel

An embattled priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million from a local Roman Catholic parish is trying to raise $300,000 to fund his defense.

The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle is “in dire need” of help, according to a letter dated June 11 and circulated on his behalf.

Opus Bono, a charity based in Lapeer County which raises money to assist priests across the country facing criminal charges or other problems, sent the letter to a “short list” of Wehrle’s family and friends, according to the letter.

Wehrle, the former pastor of St. Martha parish in Okemos, currently awaits trial on felony embezzlement charges. An insurer for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing has filed a separate civil lawsuit against Wehrle after so far paying out $2.9 million in damages.

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