Auditors: Okemos Priest Used $1.85 Million Of Parish Funds On Home

May 16, 2017

Michigan priest charged with embezzling money from Okemos church.

An Okemos priest is out of jail, accused of stealing money from his parish for an expensive home.


The Lansing State Journal reported that Michigan State Police arrested 66-year-old Reverend Jonathan Werhle on Saturday.


It was the same day as the 39th anniversary of his ordination. He is charged with embezzlement of $100,000 or more.


He was released Monday on bond. Werhle is on leave from the church.


Auditors reportedly told police he spent $1.85 million of church funds on his 11,000 square foot home in Williamston.


Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Thomas DeClercq confirmed the investigation to WKAR's Katie Cook.


"I can't comment on the dollar amount," said Lt. DeClercq.  "I can tell you auditors within the Lansing Diocese are continuing to investigate."


Lt. DeClercq said he anticipated additional charges.


Werhle's attorney reportedly told the Lansing State Journal he made $40,000 a year. But he had independent family money.


Next hearing is June 1.