Former Waltham Pastor Indicted for Embezzlement

By Eric Convey
Boston Herald
January 23, 2003

The former pastor of a Waltham Catholic church was indicted yesterday on charges he embezzled $135,000 between 1997 and 2001, though the money reportedly has been returned since then.

The Rev. Joseph J. Byrne, 59, took the money by moving Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted funds into a personal account beginning in 1997 and by using a church debit card, according to Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley's office. He faces seven counts of larceny exceeding $250.

Law enforcement authorities learned of the scheme when bank officials tipped them off in April 2002, investigators said.

Byrne, who was assigned to the church in June 1994, has since been removed and is without assignment.

Donna M. Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said church officials have been aware of the ongoing investigation, which began 10 months ago, ``and will continue to cooperate fully with the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office.''

Byrne could not be reached yesterday at his home in East Falmouth. He is scheduled for arraignment Jan. 28.

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