Wisconsin pastor confesses to ripping off $10,000 from church

| December 16, 2009

Fond du Lac police say a pastor at a Lutheran church is admitting he stole thousands of dollars from the collection basket.

Investigators say The Reverend Stuart Zak, 55, took as much as $10,000 from church offerings collected during the holidays during a ten-year period.

Police say they haven't seen a case like it ever before.

The pastor who was serving his congregation for years at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac, police say, was also taking right out of the collection basket.

"Apparently they were doing some auditing on books, and so they came up with a discrepancy in the funds and they started their internal investigation," Captain Steve Klein, Fond du Lac Police Department, said.

The result of the internal investigation, according to the church's news release, Reverend Zak "confessed his sin."

The remaining pastor declined to go on-camera to talk about what happened or how the congregation feels, but in a news release he describes it as being a difficult time where people are grieving.

"There is forgiveness in the Lord. And we, as a church council, forgive Mr. Zak," the news release says.

But at the same time, the release says the church council is figuring out how to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Police expect to refer their investigation to the district attorney's office later this week. Reverend Zak has resigned from his position and in the past two weeks paid back the church $10,000.

Zak will no longer be able to serve as pastor in any Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) congregation.

 

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