Preliminary hearing begins for priest charged with stealing church funds

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The Windsor Star

May 05, 2014 – 10:19 PM EDT
Last Updated: May 05, 2014 – 10:23 PM EDT

Sarah Sacheli

A preliminary hearing has begun in the case of a former Tecumseh priest charged with embezzling money from St. Anne’s Church.

Robert Couture, 50, is charged with theft over $5,000. Police allege the pastor stole $180,000 between August 2002 and May 2010.

During that time, Couture twice reported a burglary at his residence. In both cases, Couture claimed cash was stolen while he was conducting mass. He posed in his collar and vestments for a photo that ran on the front page of the Windsor Star in October 2009 about how burglars had targeted him again.

Monday was the first day of preliminary hearing scheduled to last 10 days in Ontario court. A publication ban prevents reporting on the evidence heard at the preliminary hearing. Couture has elected to be tried by a Superior Court judge sitting without a jury if the preliminary hearing judge commits him to stand trial.

The London Diocese which encompasses local churches like St. Anne’s has said parishioners deserve to know what happened to their money. Several parishioners sat in on the proceedings against Couture Monday.

ssacheli@windsorstar.com

5 Responses to Preliminary hearing begins for priest charged with stealing church funds

  1. Rich says:

    Hi Sylvia

    Any word on the court proceedings for Father Robert Couture? I’m interested in attending the court proceedings.

    • Sylvia says:

      I’ll check tomorrow Rich to see if a date has been set. I will post a note to let you and everyone else know if it has or has not been set as yet, and if it has, will give the date and time.

    • Sylvia says:

      Father Couture’s next court date is:

      13 June 2014: 09:30 am, courtroom #3, “to set a date,” Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor

      That will probably be short and sweet, and chances are high he will not be present.. Also due the same day is Father Linus Bastien, also “to set a date.” As I said in my blog, it could and probably will take a bit of time before a trial date is set.

  2. tish says:

    Has the court set a date for robert couture?

  3. Sylvia says:

    I have to wait ’till tomorrow to get the date tish. As soon as I find out I will pass on the word.

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