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Published February 07, 2012, 05:26 PM

East Grand Forks Priest Accused of Theft

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - An East Grand Forks priest is being accused of theft of personal property and misappropriation of donations for Africa.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - An East Grand Forks priest is being accused of theft of personal property and misappropriation of donations for Africa.

The Crookston diocese has placed an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Father Carlos Velez, on administrative leave.

The East Grand Forks Police Department has confirmed that an investigation centering on Velez is underway.

According to an email sent by the diocese of Crookston, the 39-year-old is facing allegations for initiating a special collection without permission and failing to follow internal controls regarding the proper treatment of donations to the parish.

The diocese conducted an investigation of its own and handed the case over to the East Grand Forks Police Department.

Velez was ordained as a priest for the diocese of Boise in 2000 and has been at Sacred Heart for six months and at St. Phillip's Catholic Church in Bemidji before that.

Both the diocese and Sacred Heart refused to comment.

The details on the investigation are very sparse, but Velez is not expected to return to ministry at Sacred Heart or anywhere in the Crookston diocese.

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