The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 13, 2012

Wassie mismanaged about $70,000 of St. Joseph funds


Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — The Rev. Stephen Wassie, who resigned last year from St. Joseph Calasanctius because he mismanaged about $70,000 of parish funds, was the victim of “a scheme of extortion fraud,” according to a Friday letter from the Diocese of Youngstown.

The issue was brought forward in a letter given to parishioners by the Most Rev. George  V. Murry, the diocese’s bishop on Sunday, which said, “At this time, no charges are anticipated against Father Wassie.”

The letter further states Wassie, 59, wasn’t the only victim, but rather the extortion and fraud was perpetuated  “by a person who has been involved in a series of other criminal activities across northeastern Ohio.”

An audit of the church’s funds revealed Wassie gave the perpetrator about $70,000 of the church’s money, plus some of his own private funds, according to Murry’s letter.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation into this matter is on-going, and therefore, there is no further comment on the details of the extortion, Mark Moretti, public information officer, said.