Local News Archive
Print Issue: September 13, 1990
Conyers Parish Will Be Audited
By Gretchen Keiser
A third parish in the archdiocese will be included in a special audit of finances following the pastor's voluntary disclosure that Victoria Long had been assisted from the parish charitable fund.
Father John Walsh, pastor of St. Pius X Church, Conyers, provided the information to Bishop James P. Lyke, OFM, after the bishop appointed a special commission of lay Catholics to oversee an independent audit of archdiocesan funds and those of two parishes.
The priest provided the bishop with information that the parish "Good Samaritan" fund to help people in need of charity had been used to assist Ms. Long several times over a two-year period. The total amount of aid was between $1,000 and $2,000.
Father Walsh met Ms. Long at a parish celebration at St. John the Evangelist parish in Hapeville in the summer of 1987.
Father Peter A. Dora, communications director of the archdiocese, said the pastor told him he assisted Ms. Long "without realizing that she was getting help from anybody else." Father Walsh stopped assisting her about a year ago, Father Dora said.
When the scandal involving Ms. Long, Archbishop Eugene A. Marino, SSJ, and Father Michael Woods broke, Father Walsh was going on vacation, but he brought the information to Bishop Lyke immediately on his return.
Bishop Lyke, in a telephone interview Sept. 11, said that Father Walsh had come to him freely with the information and that there was no sexual relationship between the priest and Ms. Long.
The financial information was given to the commission Sept. 4, according to Michael McNamara, chief financial officer of the archdiocese, with the recommendation that St. Pius X be included in the audit.
The parish "has not been audited yet, but it is scheduled," McNamara said.
Already included in the audit are St. John the Evangelist parish in Hapeville and St. Jude's in Sandy Springs, two parishes where Father woods served as pastor.
Bishop Lyke requested the audit and appointed the commission Aug. 14 to clear the air of allegations that archdiocesan funds or parish funds were misused on behalf of Ms. Long because of her relationships with the archbishop or Father Woods.
The audit is being carried out by the independent accounting firm of Coopers and Lybrand.
At the request of the commission, letters have been sent to all parishes in the archdiocese asking whether they are aware of parish funds having been paid to Ms. Long or for her benefit.
The priests have been asked to respond directly to the accounting firm, by the end of September.
The audit and the completion of the commission's report on any financial benefit Ms. Long actually received from parishes or the archdiocese is expected to take several months to complete, McNamara said. The commission will not comment until its study is done.