Millions missing from Catholic Church near Lansing

MASON, Mich. - An audit so far has found that nearly $5 million is missing from a Roman Catholic church near Lansing.

The disclosure was made Friday during a court hearing for the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle, who is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos.

Wehrle's attorney, Lawrence Nolan, says $5 million is a "new high-water mark."

The priest lives in an 11,000-square-foot home on 10 acres worth more than $1 million in Williamston. Nolan says money from Wehrle's family could have paid for it.

Retired Bishop Carl Mengeling says priests usually live on church grounds. A Lansing-area judge must decide whether there's enough evidence to send Wehrle to trial.

The hearing will resume Sept. 1 with testimony from Bishop Earl Boyea.

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