A classic dispute has officially commenced by the Diocese of Peoria, St. Michael the Archangel Church, located in Streator, Illinois, and a rosary society at legal odds over the ownership of $35,000.
Monsignor John Prendergast, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church, after giving written notice to the rosary society, filed a report with the local police charging an 86-year old, Dorothy Swital, with stealing the funds. Ms. Swital is more than ready for this legal fight.
According to The Times, based in Ottawa, Illinois:
He believes that money belongs to the church.
Swital, the 86-year old president of the society, does not see it that way.
She said the non-profit organization always has operated independent of the parish. The money was raised by the group through fundraisers and not through church collections.
Prior to filing the police report, Prendergast sent the following letter to Ms. Swital. Below are the opening paragraphs of the letter.
Subject: Missing funds from St. Casimir Parish
Dear Mrs. Swital,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our intent to file a police report concerning your unauthorized withdrawal of two Certificates of Deposits held at Streator Home Building and Loan Association that were the property of St. Casimir Roman Catholic Congregation and their subsequent deposit in an account other than that of St. Casimir Catholic Congregation of Streator.
According to bank statements from Streator Home Building and Loan Association, on October 27, 2010 you closed St. Casimir's Altar and Rosary certificate of deposit account xxxxxxxxxx* and received a $19,938.99 check written to "St. Casimir's Altar & Rosary Society" and, at the same time, you closed a second St. Casimir's Altar and Rosary Society certificate of deposit account xxxxxxxxxx* and received a $15,683.17 check written to "St. Casimir's Altar & Rosary Society." You subsequently deposited both checks, totaling $35,622.16, in an account which did not belong to St. Casimir Church, the owners of the funds.
The letter continues: