Friday, July 26, 2013

Former Corning, New York pastor faces theft charge

A former pastor of a Corning church was charged with a felony after an audit revealed more than $18,000 may have been misappropriated.

New York State Police in Bath charged the Rev. Christopher W. Mathewson, 35, of Sharon, Pa., with fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony, on Tuesday.

Mathewson was pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Corning from 2007 to 2011, police said.

After he left the church, an audit revealed that as much as $18,640 may have been misappropriated, police said.

A criminal complaint on file against Mathewson in Bath Village Court accuses him of stealing the money by using the pastor’s discretionary fund and the deacon’s emergency fund. It also accuses him of using an American Express credit card and another credit card.

Senior Investigator Curt Eaton began the investigation in December, while he was assigned to state police barracks in Painted Post. In the complaint, Eaton said Mathewson used the money for personal use from about 2009 to 2011.

Mathewson was arraigned Tuesday in Bath Village Court and released on his own recognizance.

The case has been sent to the Steuben County District Attorney’s office for consideration by a county grand jury, Eaton said.

A woman who identified herself only as the clerk of the session at the church declined to comment Thursday, referring questions to police. The session is a governing body of the church.

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