An April 17, 2019, article published in a local newspaper, relying on unnamed “individuals who spoke … under condition of anonymity,” put forth several allegations related to the Diocese of Arlington’s investigation of issues involving the former pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Father Ronald Escalante. These allegations, which were subsequently echoed on several websites, were investigated by the Diocese of Arlington.
The policies of the Diocese of Arlington require an internal financial audit at the time of any change of pastors. Because the allegations involved, among other things, charges of financial impropriety at St. Francis de Sales, it is appropriate to address them prior to the upcoming arrival of the parish’s new pastor.
Specifically, the article alleged the following with regard to parish finances at St. Francis de Sales Parish:
In late September 2018, church administrative/financial irregularities were brought to Father Escalante’s attention. Specifically, records showed an increase of 800 percent – several thousand dollars – in printing costs. An investigation showed that an employee of the church was using church printing resources – including materials and copiers – for an outside company job
The statements above are not accurate. The parish business manager has stated that she brought no such concerns to Father Escalante, and parish records show no such increase.
The Diocese’s director of internal audit reviewed parish records of monthly copier usage for fiscal years 2016 through 2019, and interviewed parish staff members. Her analysis determined that “[t]rends of monthly charges within the four fiscal years seemed relatively consistent from year to year,” and that any “potential use of parish assets for the benefit of a personal … endeavor in the form of copier usage is immaterial.” A review of the parish’s office supplies expense “show[ed] relatively stable activity annually.” No evidence was found in the records of missing or unaccounted for materials.
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St. Francis DeSales
37730 St. Francis Court
Purcellville, VA 20132
Parish Office: 540-338-6381
Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Office closed 12noon - 1:15pm daily and closed on major public holidays.