Allan W. Fenske, a Minnesota man who used to be the secretary-treasurer for Hawley United Methodist Church, reportedly spent his fellow church members’ donations on sex with women he met on Craigslist.
Fenske, who pleaded guilty to taking thousands of dollars from the church when he was the treasurer, was sentenced to 20 days on electric home monitoring and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution. During the time period of the thefts, Fenske was in charge of the church’s donations.
According to court documents, officials at Hawley United noticed the money was missing in 2015:
An audit revealed that Fenske, the church treasurer at the time who was in charge of collecting and depositing church offerings, had written checks directly to himself and to a Boy Scout troop in Hawley.
When questioned by investigators, Fenske said he began using church funds in 2011. He said some of the things he used the money for included paying for sex from women he met on Craigslist.
After church board members confronted Fenske, he wrote a letter admitting to stealing up to $50,000 from them over many years. He said he planned to pay them back by making $350 payments each month.
Prosecutors say they were okay with Fenske avoiding jail time because he was willing to pay more restitution than they could charge him with, and the pastor of the church — Jane Milliken — said he “confessed” and made amends. Milliken added that Fenske’s actions have made them “stronger as a church.”
But that doesn’t change the fact that he ripped off his own religious institution to pay women for sex, does it? Or does he just need God’s forgiveness? Fortunately, that’s not the way our justice system works, so Fenske will at least be placed on home monitoring on his own dime and forced to pay $30,000. He has already repaid more than $13,000.
I haven’t heard anything, however, about whether Fenske will be charged with a crime for his actions, since they are, in fact, illegal. Perhaps investigators forgot about that part. We’ll see.
What we do know is that, once again, religious faith (this time, Christianity specifically) didn’t stop someone from fleecing his congregation to partake in what at least those church members would say is an immoral act. So much for thinking about what Jesus would do.
(Screenshot via WDAY)