Pastor arraigned on 17 felony counts

| May 7, 2010

A former Greenfield pastor who was arrested in late April in connection with money stolen from his church has been indicted on 17 counts by a Highland County Grand Jury.

James A. Blaine, 61, whose current address is in San Antonio, Texas, is facing the charges involving thefts from Good Shepherd Church in Highland County's Madison Township, where he served as pastor.

The charges include 13 counts of forgery, each a felony of the fifth degree; one count of unauthorized use of property, a fourth-degree felony; one count of third-degree felony forgery, and two counts of aggravated theft, each a felony of the third degree.

The charges are the result of a seven-month-long investigation by Highland County Sheriff's Office detectives into allegations that Blaine stole money from the church. He is accused of doing this by forging names and documents that were then submitted to financial institutions, where Blaine obtained money in the name of the church for his personal use. The activity allegedly took place at various times between 2004 to 2009, with the total amount taken adding up to more than $100,000.

Blaine originally was arrested April 27 on one count of theft filed in Highland County Court, when he returned to Ohio from Texas to attend a bankruptcy hearing on a case he initiated. Blaine was arraigned April 28, and the case tied to church theft was then presented to the grand jury Tuesday, where the additional charges were issued.

Blaine will be scheduled for an arraignment in Highland County Common Pleas Court soon. He remains in custody at the Highland County Justice Center.

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Category: Church Security

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