Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NY Pastor Stole $84,000 From Church For Plastic Surgery

A Staten Island, NY pastor has been charged with $84,537 from his flock and blowing it on fancy clothes, plastic surgery, Botox and booze, prosecutors said Monday.

The Rev. William Blasingame, 66, who recently resigned from St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church in Stapleton, took the money from church accounts over a three-year period.

"The investigation arose from a phone call from church leaders about disparities in the church books," said a source close to the investigation.

Blasingame is also accused of taking church funds to pay for club memberships and car insurance. Prosecutors say he drained two funds. The Friends of St. Paul's foundation was set up for the maintenance and beautification of the church's grounds, and the other fund was a discretionary kitty to provide small amounts of cash to parishioners down on their luck, authorities said.

The pastor allegedly was stealing from an emergency fund set up to help church members in need, as well.

Blasingame stepped down in January before turning himself in Friday morning at the Staten Island district attorney's office. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance later that day. He's slated to return to court May 12, authorities said.
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