February 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

Detroit priest accused of defrauding fund for needy area families

Rev. Timothy Kane charged with taking funds from charity

Kane (Steve Perez / The Detroit News/ Wayne County Prose)

Detroit — An area priest and an accomplice have been accused of defrauding an inner-city charitable program.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday a warrant charging the Rev. Timothy Kane, 57, who had been serving at St. Moses the Black Parish in Detroit, with six felony counts related to missing money from the Angel Fund, which provides aid to the needy in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck.

According to Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Kane worked in connection with Dorreca Marvie Brewer, 34, of Jackson to allegedly steal money from the charity fund by filing and approving false applications. Between August 2008 and July 2012, the pair allegedly convinced others who did not need the money to supply their information in exchange for a cut of the profits, Worthy said.

Kane and Brewer, who was not believed to work for the archdiocese, received thousands of dollars from the fraudulent transactions, Worthy said.

“All we know is he took money from people who needed it financially,” Worthy said. “It’s essentially stealing from the church and stealing from God.”

Worthy said the amount the two are being charged with obtaining is between $1,000 and $20,000.

“It’s very painful because any priest’s alleged misconduct affects us all,” Bishop Donald Hanchon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Central Region, said during a press conference Tuesday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. “I hope that people will be thoughtful and considerate to the fact that there are not lots of these cases. ... This is an exception.”

Kane will turn himself in Wednesday before his arraignment, Worthy said. Brewer was arrested Tuesday. Worthy’s office said she and Kane would be arraigned at 36th District Court.

The charges against Kane, according to the prosecutor’s office:

■Criminal enterprise conspiracy, a 20-year felony.

■Using computers to commit a crime, a 20-year felony.

■Uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony.

■Conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony.

■Embezzlement from a charitable institution, $1,000 to $20,000, a 10-year felony

■Conspiracy to commit embezzlement from a charitable institution, $1,000 to $20,000, a 10-year felony

The archdiocese said in a statement Kane has been removed from the ministry.

The archdiocese declined Tuesday to reveal additional details in the case or discuss whether Kane had faced other discipline in the past. They also declined to detail how the allegations surfaced.

The archdiocese described the Angel Fund as “a little-known charitable program ... that has been funded by an anonymous donor family. Since 2005, the Angel Fund has granted more than $17 million to needy individuals and families. The fund is not supported by weekend collections at parishes, the Catholic Services Appeal or the Changing Lives Together capital campaign, the archdiocese said.

Aimed to assist people with necessities such as food and clothing, the effort has not been widely publicized per the donor family’s wishes, archdiocese officials said Tuesday.

Asked about safeguards and greater oversight that might have prevented possible misuse of the fund, the archdiocese officials said the donor family had intended to simplify the process for those in need.

“They did not want bureaucracy on top of bureaucracy because they were afraid that the added layers of bureaucracy would hinder money getting to people who really needed it,” said Msgr. Michael Bugarin, the archbishop’s delegate for cases involving clergy misconduct.

Ordained in 1982, Kane previously served at parishes in Wyandotte, Clawson and Detroit, the archdiocese said. In 2008, he became associate pastor at Detroit’s Church of the Madonna and St. Gregory the Great as well as St. Benedict in Highland Park, according to the archdiocese said. The three merged in July to form St. Moses the Black.

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