Personally, I think this should have been done a long time ago.......like back in 2014 when the misuse of funds was discovered. When the financial officer of the Yona parish was found to have stolen thousands of dollars from the parish, the police was notified and she was arrested. The Church should have done the same thing with Monsignor James once it had been discovered that he misued the funds. But Archbishop Apuron was too merciful. Rather than reporting it to the police, he removed Monsignor James from the Cathedral, and he went to the Tamuning parish where he could still practice his priestly duties.
In an interesting twist, just hours after the Archdiocese of Agana held a press conference to announce that all allegations of financial mismanagement made against Monsignor James Benavente were invalid, KUAM News has learned that a complaint has been filed by the Catholic Cemeteries of Guam, Inc. with the Guam Police Department and the Attorney General’s office.
Now, that GPD and the AG is involved, he can explain how he managed to take $13,000 for his personal use, specifically for his 20th anniversary dinner. Even if he had paid back the $13,000, do you think the government would excuse him? Do you think the Government of Guam would clear him of these allegations?
According to the Criminal Defense Lawyer Website:
A person who misappropriates funds with the intent to later return the money to the rightful owner is still guilty of misappropriation. It also doesn't matter if the misappropriation only lasted for a short amount of time.MORE ON PNC NEWS:
The report states that Msgr. James Benavente misused over $13,000 in church money for his anniversary dinner.
Guam - Just moments after he was vindicated, a complaint was filed against Msgr. James Benavente for allegedly spending over $13,000 in church money for his personal use.
PNC obtained a board resolution from the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Agana, signed by Attorney Jacque Terlaje, who also represents Archbishop Anthony Apuron in a separate libel and slander lawsuit filed by four of the Archbishop's alleged sex abuse victims.
The report from the catholic cemeteries was sent to both the Guam Police Department and the Attorney General's Office today. In the report, it states that two checks were written to a Joshua Perez totaling $13,620 dollars for the purpose of Benavente's 20 anniversary dinner back in June and July of 2014.
However, attached to the report is a receipt from the Catholic Cemeteries for $14,280 in reimbursement for Benavente's 20th anniversary dinner.
Not long after Msgr. James' anniversary dinner, he was fired by Archbishop Anthony Apuron as the director of the catholic cemeteries and rector of the cathedral basilica.
PNC reached out to Msgr. James for his response but he was unavailable for comment as of news time.