The Edmond Sun

July 22, 2013

Judge sentences St. John’s ex-employee

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — An ex-employee charged in the embezzlement of $109,454 from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church has been sentenced to jail time, probation and community service.

In December 2012, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed eight counts related to the unauthorized use of a computer network for the purpose of obtaining money and other things of value by use of false and fraudulent representation against Bill Dwight Coyle, 63, of Edmond.

In 1997, Coyle was hired as business manager by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 924 S. Littler, where he was ordained a deacon in 1992, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Edmond Police Detective Matthew Terry in Oklahoma County District Court.

The charges were related to items allegedly obtained using church credit cards from September 2008 to November 2011, according to the affidavit. An incident report by Edmond Police Officer Jonathan Cramer stated the total amount missing from the church was $109,454.

Monday morning, Judge Kenneth Watson sentenced Coyle to 90 days in the county jail, a 10-year deferred sentence to be supervised by the DA’s office and 500 hours community service, said Thomas Riesen, Coyle’s attorney. Riesen said his client has paid $92,691 worth of restitution, which includes $34,000 covering the cost of an audit commissioned by the church.

In court on Friday, Coyle apologized to St. John’s staff and to parishioners, Riesen said. He said his client has accepted responsibility for the offenses and never challenged the allegations.

“He is extremely remorseful for this conduct,” Riesen said.

Coyle will report to the jail next week, Riesen said. A pre-trial conference was scheduled for Wednesday, according to court records.

Church staff could not be reached for comment late Monday.

During a parish assessment in early 2012, a witness came forward with concerns that the defendant was using church funds for his own personal gain, the affidavit stated.

On Feb. 24, 2012, former St. John’s pastor John Metzinger along with an attorney for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, a witness and the defendant met, according to the affidavit. Two people said during the meeting the defendant admitted to using more than $58,000 of church funds for personal gain, the affidavit stated.

The audit stated the defendant appeared to benefit from church funds for a total of $78,795, and that consideration should be given to another $32,313 for purchases with the two credit cards, the affidavit stated.

A flash drive obtained by Terry contained information related to the defendant’s alleged Amazon purchases, two church credit cards and a cell phone service provider, according to the affidavit.

Police obtained a computer screen print directly from the defendant’s Amazon account; the account name was “Bill D. Coyle” and the email account he allegedly used was registered to his name, the affidavit stated. | 341-2121, ext. 108