Former pastor indicted for inappropriate receipt, use of parish funds

Published: Feb. 1, 2020 at 8:54 PM CST
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Bishop Paul Swain said in a statement Friday that former pastor David Desmond was indicted for inappropriate receipt and use of parish funds. After being notified of inattentiveness to pastoral responsibilities and repeated absences from the parish, Desmond resigned and was placed on leave on July 10, 2019.

Following his departure, a review of the financial records of the parish was conducted by the Finance Office of the diocese. The Initial review revealed irregularities. Eide Bailey staff performed a forensic accounting examination of parish financial records and discovered multiple examples of irregularities. This included questionable bank disbursements and Desmond's use of altered or duplicated receipts when submitting for reimbursement. Over a five-year period, the examination identified $95,394.87 in questionable parish disbursements.

The Minnehaha County States Attorney convened a grand jury that issued an indictment against Desmond for grand theft embezzlement. The Court authorized a warrant for Desmond's arrest.

The parish has insurance for employee dishonesty and a claim for losses has been submitted to the insurer. A public meeting will be held in Saint Mary Church on Thursday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. to assist parishioners in wake of the incident.