Gregg Matte, pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church, explained why the megachurch did not tell its congregation that an ex-minister stole more than $800,000 of the church’s finances.
“Unfortunately, due to the sensitive nature of the legal and investigative procedures triggered by this matter, we have not been able to provide these details until now. While we were unable to inform the church body because of the ongoing investigation, we informed and kept updated the related church committees, including personnel, finance, and missions committees, along with key staff and the deacon body, throughout this process,” Matte said in a statement to KPRC2 on Tuesday.
“These past months have been challenging and painful for us as the extent of Jerrell’s actions came to light and as we wrestled with the tension of wanting to inform the congregation, while also carefully following law enforcement’s lead in the investigation, balancing legal constraints with church procedures.”
Jerrell G. Altic, the former minister in question, is accused of embezzling the large sum of money over a six-year period at the church from 2011 to 2017.
KTRK reported that Altic surrendered to authorities on Tuesday morning after being indicted by a Harris County grand jury.
Prosecutors said that the theft involved a number of misrepresentations and forgery. Altic apparently used the money to fund overseas trips, get a doctorate from Lancaster Bible School and for other expenses.
James Alston, Altic’s attorney, said that his client is “cooperating fully with the district attorney’s office.”
“He feels horrible for what has happened and the pain that has caused everyone at the church and his family members, and he would want me to tell everyone that he’s sorry,” Alston shared.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov