Priest returns to India after stealing from local church

TOWN OF TONAWANDA (WIVB) — A former priest visiting from India and assigned to Buffalo’s St. Christopher parish in the town of Tonawanda was back in his home country Monday, after being accused of stealing less than $500 dollars from the church.

The Rev. Suresh Yamarthy was accused of stealing checks that were supposed to go to the church’s outreach program. Before he returned home, he paid all of the money back, according to the diocese.

Yamarthy was assigned to a three-year stint at St. Christopher, which started in June 2016.

In a statement, spokesman George Richert said the diocese consulted with the Erie County District Attorney’s office, and since Yamarthy made full restitution, the organization decided not to press charges.

Yamathy returned to India after his services were no longer needed in Buffalo, Richert said.

St. Christopher’s is the same parish where the church’s former secretary, Maureen Durrell, was convicted of stealing nearly $500,000 over seven years.
She paid a portion of the money back and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Williamsville defense attorney Sunil Bakshi doesn’t represent either party in this case. But he said the lack of prosecution isn’t all that surprising, especially considering the amount was less than $500.

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