West Texas priest sued over church finances

January 13, 2012 5:38:48 AM PST
A West Texas priest has been sued over his handling of parish finances in which some donation checks allegedly were made out to him, not the church.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso have sued the Rev. Michael Rodriguez and his brother, David Rodriguez.

Rev. Rodriguez on Thursday denied wrongdoing. No criminal charges have been filed.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Bishop Armando Ochoa and Monsignor Arturo Banuelas, seeks an accounting and return of funds allegedly meant for San Juan Bautista Church.

The lawsuit says Ochoa on Sept. 7 learned from two ex-parishioners that Rev. Rodriguez solicited money for a building project, but requested the checks be made out to him.

The diocese on Sept. 20 reassigned Rev. Rodriguez to Santa Teresa de Jesus Parish in Presidio.