Okemos Pastor Accused of Embezzlement Appears In Court

Jul 7, 2017

Okemos priest Jonathan Wehrle appeared in Ingham County 55th District court Friday for a hearing to determine if he will face an embezzlement charge.

Wehrle, founding pastor of  Saint Martha Parish in Okemos, has been charged with embezzlement of $100,000 or more. Police allege he spent more than $1.85 million in parish funds on his home in Williamston.

The hearing consisted mostly of Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Stevens, and Wehrle's lawyer, Lawrence Nolan, questioning the first witness: the retired Bishop of the Lansing Diocese, Carl Mengeling. He was asked about how much independence priests were given when starting a parish.

"There are parameters that are very clear about what the responsibility of the priest is with that assignment that he's got to start a new parish," said Mengeling.

Wehrle has been placed on administrative leave. The hearing is expected to be continued on September 1.