A former volunteer money counter at St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Pontiac has been sentenced to 24 months probation for embezzlement of parish funds. The charge, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, indicated an amount between $1,000 and $20,000. The volunteer, Sally Crake, will be required to make restitution. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution is set for July 21.
In December 2009, the Archdiocese of Detroit was made aware of a pattern of theft by Crake, who routinely counted money from the collection basket at the parish following weekend Masses. Evidence was turned over to the Pontiac Police Department. Crake subsequently was arraigned on the charge and entered a no contest plea in March.
St. Damien Parish, formed in the summer of 2009, is the product of a merger of three Catholic churches in Pontiac: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Michael, and Shrine of St. Joseph. The parish uses all three sites for its services. The parish main office is at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 46408 Woodward Ave.
Due to ongoing litigation involving restitution, the parish and the archdiocese can offer no further comments or details on this particular matter. In a broader context, it can be said that the archdiocese takes seriously its responsibility of financial stewardship and any actions that would compromise the trust of those who give to the church. When criminal activities are suspected, the archdiocese and its institutions cooperate with civil authorities and the court system to work toward a resolution.