EDMOND, Okla. –Authorities say a man who was supposed to help people who were in need was really helping himself to money that should have gone to a local church.
Bill Dwight Coyle, the former business manager of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $50,000 in church funds.
He will spend the next three months behind bars and perform hundreds of hours of community service.
In 2012, court documents say Coyle used a church issued credit card to make more than $58,000 worth of unauthorized purchases including a gun holster, grenade pouch and a survival guide.
After pleading guilty to eight counts of violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act, he accepted a 10 year deferred sentence.
Coyle will spend the next 90 days in county jail and fulfill 500 hours of community service.
“We really don’t have any comment, thank you,” said Coyle’s attorney.
Now, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is speaking out.
Representatives said throughout this case, the church has prayed for healing and forgiveness and are grateful this matter has been resolved.
Tina Dzurisin, with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said, “Archbishop has been throughout concerned for the parish of St. John the Baptist, concerned for Bill Coyle and his family, concerned for the priests who lead that parish.”
As part of the settlement, Coyle made a $92,600 payment in restitution including the cost of the original church audit.
Now, new systems have been put in place to make sure this fraud never happens again.
Dzurisin said, “At the parish level they really looked into their practices and ensured that they adopted some safeguards that will prevent this in the future.”
As Coyle carries out his sentence, officials said the church can begin to heal and look ahead.
Dzurisin said, “We hope that he’s able to move forward and to feel like this is behind us and that he is forgiven.”
A deferred sentence is not a conviction if the conditions of the sentence are met.