Police charge minister with stealing from church

While it may not seem like a serious offense, stealing can have a much wider impact than just a conviction. Because theft crimes call into question your reliability and your trustworthiness, having a criminal record for theft makes it very difficult for employers, landlords and friends to trust you. It is also very easy for someone accused of a theft crime to say something that police can twist around and use against him or her at a trial, making it important to say nothing to police until you have spoken with your criminal defense attorney.

Unfortunately, it appears a youth minister from Burnsville has implicated himself in a series of thefts from his church. Burnsville police officers had been called by the church to investigate what it believed to be a theft and officers decided to check out the youth minister after church officials indicated he had been having financial difficulties.

As investigators looked into the case a little more closely, they claim they discovered that 40 checks written to the church had been deposited in the youth minister’s account, but it is unclear how the officers gained access to the minister’s financial accounts. Officers then spoke with the minister about the checks, but there is no indication that he was given his Miranda rights or given the chance to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.

According to police, when shown a spreadsheet documenting the checks police claim the minister deposited, he started to get emotional and admitted his involvement with the thefts.

Had the youth minister been able to speak with an attorney before he was confronted by police, it is possible that they would not have been able to charge him with theft. At the very least, his attorney would have prevented police from eliciting such an emotional response.

Source: My Fox 9, “Burnsville Youth Minister Charged With Skimming Church Funds,” March 29, 2012

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.