Priest accused of embezzlement raising funds for legal defense

WILLIAMSTON (AP) — A Lansing-area priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million from his church is trying to raise $300,000 for his defense just weeks before trial.

The Lansing State Journal says a group called Opus Bono has sent a letter on behalf of the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle. The letter says he’s in “dire need.”

Wehrle is charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos. He lived at a property worth more than $1 million in Williamston. Trial is scheduled for Aug. 13.