Saturday, August 29, 2009

Buffalo diocese ousts parish pastor and finance chief

Buffalo diocese has removed a priest and business manager from St Teresa's parish, South Buffalo parish, after the two men expressed concerns about missing financial records and other financial irregularities.

The sudden removals Friday of Monsignor Fred R. Voorhes and Marc J. Pasquale followed a recent telephone call Pasquale made to the Erie County district attorney's office regarding possible financial improprieties at St. Teresa Parish and South Buffalo Catholic Schools, Buffalo News reports.

Voorhes was summoned to the chancery Friday and removed as parish administrator. Monsignor W. Jerome Sullivan, the new temporary administrator, and Larry Vilardo, a lawyer for the diocese, went to the church at the same time to fire Pasquale, the business manager.

"Why there is such a huge coverup going on, I don't know," Pasquale said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

Pasquale, who also was parish director of religious education, said he had been trying for months to point out "questionable financial practices" at St Teresa that occurred prior to his hiring as business manager in September 2008.

The questionable practices, he said, included missing invoices, shredded documents and unexplained charges on a parish credit card during the pastorate of Fr Robert M. Mock, who now teaches at Trocaire College.

A diocesan spokesman told the Buffalo News that the diocese has no reason to believe there were any financial irregularities at that time.

Diocesan officials did not provide a reason for the dismissals of Pasquale and Voorhes, citing personnel issues.

The decision to fire Pasquale had been made long before Friday and was unrelated to his expressing concern about possible financial improprieties in the parish, they said.

"There were good reasons to terminate his employment, and those reasons had nothing at all to do with any complaints made by Marc to anybody," Vilardo said.

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