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Collections Don’t Add Up at St. Bridget

According to a report in the Hartford Courant, a police investigation is estimating that more than $150,000 is missing from St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Moodus.

 

The investigation at St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Moodus began back in the spring of 2011. On Sunday, the Hartford Courant ran an article describing first-hand accounts of empty collection envelopes and indicates those as being the possible source of missing church funds.

According to the article, about a dozen people have been interviewed in the investigation including the church's previous bookkeeper, office staff, housekeepers, a bank employee, a member of the parish board of finance and other church members.

In early November 2011, the report states, "a judge was persuaded by the interviews to sign a warrant allowing police to search the rectory at St. Bridget."

From the rectory, according to the report, police confiscated files, computers and banking records. They also found 148 silver coins, eight gold coins, four silver bars, six silver gram bars and a gold gram bar.

Read the full Hartford Courant report here.

East Haddam resident October 01, 2012 at 01:44 PM
When this article was pulled from the Hartford Courant did it seem that the so called facts were all he said she said. This was one of the most one sided stories I have ever read out of that paper. I'll call it a cheap attempt to sell papers, plastering the front page of the Sunday edition with a recap of a B.S story. What ever it takes to sell a paper right, it doesn't matter whos life or reputation is destroyed. Whos to say these so called accusers statements are correct. WHERE IS THE PROOF!!!!!
Wendy Vincent October 01, 2012 at 01:59 PM
A couple people in town stopped me this morning to talk about this. I would like to encourage parishioners to write a Letter to the Editor in defense of Father Fluet if they feel so strongly about it and I would be happy to publish it for them. Thank you.
Parishioner October 01, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Where oh where to begin . . . 1. The pay is $24,000.00 plus free housing, free utilities and free groceries and household supplies. Changes things a bit, wouldn't you say? 2. Father Fluet is also a Vice President of Holy Apostles College in Cromwell. How much does he get paid for that? 3. Father Fluet came to Moodus in 1998. He and his mother sold their house in Thompson. Maybe that money went into the house in Old Lyme? Did the reporter visit the Thompson land records to see if there was a mortgage on the house there? And construction costs were very low in 2009. Any house built then would show substantial appreciation. 4. Father Fluet was an only child. His mother died in 2010, so he probably inherited everything. Was it too much work for a reporter to go to the probate court and look at the file? 5. If Father Fluet deposited $178,000.00 it sure as hell didn't come from the collection baskets. 6. The housekeeper saw the pastor sorting through the collection. There's a scandal! 7. Collection envelopes found in the rectory? Who'd-a-thunk-it? 8. The Cadillac is a 2006. With the 2013 models out it is now a 7 year-old car. Sounds like he's being prudent. His mother had a hard time getting around, I would expect him to buy a big car that was easy to get in and out of. Was it that much more than a Crown Victoria? Continued
Parishioner October 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Continued . . 9. Gold and silver bars and coins? Big deal. Diocesan priest do not take a vow of poverty. They are allowed to own property and make investments. And now when some addict breaks into the rectory looking for precious metals will the Courant and Patch pay for the damage? 10. Does anyone seriously think that Fr. Fluet, having once been questioned about mysterious empty envelopes, would keep doing the exact same thin? 11. Then there's that mysterious suitcase that was going to make the bookkeeper's husband's (her 4th) kids set for life. The guy has 6 or 7 kids. I bet he'd have found that suitcase had the need arisen, it must be the size of a boxcar. East Haddam resident is right, this is yellow journalism in its most base form. What chump would believe the suitcase story to begin with, and aren't they trying to have it both ways? First it's all in the bank, then it's all in a suitcase. Where will it be next week? Two people who had a falling out with Father Fluet make all kinds of wild allegations and he can't respond because he is under investigation. The Police have been on this over a year and they haven't got proof of anything. What is the basis for their "estimate?" What the bookkeeper told them? And why, out of the blue, is this suddenly front page news? The story is ancient history and nothing has changed. The Courant is quoting out of a search warrant application written last year.
Robin Hood October 01, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I seriously doubt the State Police would spend months just to discredit the Fr, in fact it seems they took their time to be sure before anything came out. Things he said are suspect, like the old bookkeeper had alzheimers, why would you have someone with alzheimers doing your books????? a duhhhh Too many questions and not enough answers. The police have enough evidence but can't arrest unless the Archdiocese presses charges which is highly unlikely, they are more concerned with image, like how they handle the child molestation issues, where Sandusky and the school get hammered all around.
Observor October 01, 2012 at 07:12 PM
"The police have enough evidence but can't arrest unless the Archdiocese presses charges which is highly unlikely, they are more concerned with image," Gene, state the precise factual basis for your assertion that the police have enough evidence. Investigation files are confidential and not subject to Freedom of Information. You are making things up again. And OBTW, it isn't an Archdiocese, it's a Diocese. The safest position from which to criticize anything is absolute ignorance.
Observor October 01, 2012 at 07:27 PM
"Things he said are suspect, like the old bookkeeper had alzheimers, why would you have someone with alzheimers doing your books????? a duhhhh" Some call it "Christian Charity."
zz October 01, 2012 at 08:19 PM
the state police have no evidence at all , Renee and her husbands, John accuse Father Fluet and that means he is guilty
ct October 01, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Shame on the courant! How perfect to hash old news on the front page on a SUNDAY morning! I'm with EH resident and parishioner on this one! How consiserate I must say the courant was on saying that Fr Fluet passed a lie detector test. Guess they just believe angry people. I could go on forever about the unfairness of this article but I would rather spend my spare time praying first for FR Fluet( as I have been daily) and as a good person for the liers that are trying to make a big fuss while they try to destroy a decent man. That prayer will be that they stop the lies, step up to the confessional and do the right thing. By the way, alzheimers doesn't just appear one day. I t is a long drawn out horrible disease that isn't always recognized the first time someone drops an envelope on the floor. Maybe he was just being a priest.
Charlie Roberts October 02, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I guess someone forgot about the Seventh Commandment!
ct October 02, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Before I retire for the evening, If you are out there reading these posts, and if you care about your pastor, please do the right thing. I am not asking anyone to do anything that they might not be comfortable doing, Doing the right thing is never easy. Dig deep and decide for yourself. Don't base your ideas on unproven stories in a newspaper . Base your ideas on everything good that I myself always saw in a man that was a totally devoted son, a friend, and a paster that truly cares about the parishiners of his church. This totally has to end. Step up to the plate and do what Catholics do best. Pray and come to the defense of a truly good and honest man.
Observor October 02, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I guess Charlie Roberts forgot that this is a free country where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Since the police have got zero proof of larceny after over a year of investigation what makes you say that? Plain old anti-Catholic bigotry?
Charlie Roberts October 02, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Dear Observor, I made no accusations here... I merely stated a fact. And as for plain old anti-Catholic bigotry, judge not lest ye be judged...
Observor October 02, 2012 at 03:17 PM
What was the fact?
Robin Hood October 02, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Assuming you are talking to me, the names Robin, I never make things up, I thought Norwich was the main diocese, the archdiocese which rules many diocese's. From reading the story it seems pretty clear they have enough evidence, when a person works for x and x has missing money and the person has money and possesions that they cannot account for nor lay out in accounts or prove where they got it, well, they got it from the place they work that is missing money. Generally x would press charges and seek jail and restitution. The church however is more interested in saving it's image, which why they also let rapists and child molesters remain in their employ. I'm pretty sure the State can't press charges unless the church presses charges. It doesn't look good-- "The police documents have many other details, including the priest's statement that his former secretary had Alzheimer's disease and might have made bookkeeping errors. Another detail, which Det. Mark E. Devine of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad learned, is that in the early 1990s Fluet was a suspect in the theft of about $5,000 from a tin can for a holiday collection at a Thompson church, the warrants state. He never was arrested, and the state lacks records for cases that old, the warrants state. Police confiscated files, computers and banking records. They also found 148 silver coins, eight gold coins, four silver bars, six silver gram bars and a gold gram bar."
Robin Hood October 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
It's the Lord's way.
East Haddam Resident October 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM
You stated that someone forgot the 7th commandment, insinuating that the acussed is guilty, unless you know for a fact that someone else forgot the 7th commandment and is guilty???? Otherwise there was no facts in your statment.
Observor October 02, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Actually, it appears that what happened was that nothing was stolen by anyone, but records were manipulated to make it appear that there had been thefts.
Observor October 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Are you afraid that I will blow your cover as Gene Batholomew who was banned for life from further blogging on Patch? You are wrong about the state being unable to press charges. But because you don't know anything but the garbage printed in the Courant you do not know the truth. I do know the truth and Father Fluet is innocent. That is why after all that evidence was seized and audits have been done there is no arrest warrant. Father Fluet's attorney said it best, it's all insinuation, inuendo and rank speculation. And about that $5,000.00 in the 1990s. If a sum of cash goes missing then every person who might have had access to the cash is automatically a suspect. That is police procedure 101. Please list for us the names of everyone else who had access to that cash before you start making accusations. And I'll give you a quick primer on the polity of the Catholic Church. There are three Latin Rite sees in Connecticut: The Archdiocese of Hartford and the Dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich. Hartford is a Metropolitan See, to which the Dioceses of Bridgeport, Norwich and Providence are suffragen, but this confers but little true authority to the Archbishop of Hartford. All bishops report directly to the Holy See. The Bishop of Norwich has authority over only the Church in the four eastern counties of Connecticut and Fisher's Island, New York.
cc7 October 02, 2012 at 11:57 PM
As I said before retiring last night, this just has to end!!!!! I've know Fr. Fluet for many years. This is a witch hunt by two people who feel that Father didn't do right by them. Have these people forgotten the grace and security given to them over many years by the Fluet family? Get over it both of you or how many others have joined your imaginary gravy train. Stop your childish sense of intitalment and stop brutalizing a good and decent person! What is the matter with you? I know the lies that you so humbly reported to the news as truth. How was the limo ride? Need I say more? Grow up and accept that a family helped you and called you their own.Judas had more class than you. Atleast he knew he was an instrument toward part of a miracle.
John October 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM
CC you speak out of your ass.I know the truth and all you are fed are lies because you are totally biased and blind to the truth.You need to get your head out of the sand and look at facts.
Fact Checker October 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM
John: 1. My but we're articulate! 2. Are you a member of St. Bridget's? If not, what is the source of your truth, other than the search warrant application and the warrant itself? 3. Do you dispute that the State Police have conducted an audit that found no funds missing? If you do, what is the source of your information?

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