Ex-St. Clair Shores deacon gets probation for embezzlement
A deacon of a St. Clair Shores Catholic church has been sentenced to a year of probation for embezzlement, the Archdiocese of Detroit said.
Mike Barthel, a former deacon and business manager of St. Joan of Arc Parish, must also spend six weekends under house arrest, according to archdiocese officials.
In addition, Barthel must perform 200 hours of community service, take a class on impulse control and never have contact with the church as well as write the parish an apology.
Barthel pleaded guilty to the embezzlement charge May 25 in St. Clair Shores' 40th District Court, said Holly Fournier, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.
“The Detroit archdiocese has full confidence in the judicial process and respects the outcome of this case," Fournier said in a statement. "We will continue to keep the St. Joan of Arc Parish community in our prayers.”
In April, church officials told parishioners the Macomb County Sheriff's Office was investigating Barthel for allegedly misusing parish funds.
At that time, the church's pastor, Monsignor G. Michael Bugarin, told the parish Barthel had been fired.
Neither the sheriff's office nor the church have disclosed what occurred or how much money was involved.
However, the charge to which Barthel pleaded guilty was embezzlement of $200 or more but less than $1,000. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 or three times the value of the money that was embezzled, according to the state penal code.
Barthel, a father of three, was ordained as a deacon in 2008. He attended Wayne State University, Macomb Community College and Sacred Heart Major Seminary, according to the church website. He joined St. Joan of Arc's parish shortly after he was ordained and became the business manager in 2016.