Fr. Simone, who was pastor over at St. Peter’s in Huber Heights for years before he resigned back in April, is currently the subject of a diocesan forensic audit, an investigation by Huber Heights’ police department, a news story on Channel 7 last night at 6:15, and a Sunday front page story in the Dayton Daily News.
The “good” news is that it’s not anything sexual.
The bad news is that a fair amount of parish money is missing, and nobody seems to know where it went.
This is what I know from my own knowledge and from the news reports:
St. Peter over in Huber Heights is a prosperous, active, busy parish. They have something like 20 or 30 different activities going on, and a grade school, and a whole bunch of religious education for all ages, and helping centers for families, and…. They get vocations. They also have a pretty healthy set of contributions and building projects, and have been trying to pay off the church mortgage while the archdiocese is doing its matching funds deal.
Somebody made a complaint to the archdiocese about missing funds, which set off the first investigation.
Fr. Simone is an old guy who tools around in his powered wheelchair. A lot of the day to day running of the parish is apparently done by the associate priests (who are fairly traditional) and the parish council. But the associate priests are also running around dealing with the other churches that are clustered with St. Peter’s.
Fr. Simone apparently owns, or is part owner, of a realty company that owns several apartment complexes and duplexes in the Troy and Huber Heights areas. He seems to have been a silent owner, since the tenants didn’t know their landlord was a priest. Whoever is supposed to be doing maintenance on these properties isn’t getting it done, according to numerous city citations to mow the grass.
Beyond that, I guess we’ll find out more on Sunday. (And I apologize for totally missing the original reports in February and March, including the one in the Catholic Telegraph.)
This could obviously be a totally innocent situation, since (as Margery Allingham noted) there are some people in the Church who tend to give away money to those who need it, and forget to do the paperwork. On the other hand, it could be something very bad. Either way, the parishioners and priests of St. Peter’s need our prayers.