A Catholic Priest thought to be responsible for the failure and eventual closing of Astoria's 112 year-old Star Of The Sea School four years ago through deliberate financial mismangement is appearently repeating the same pattern of behavior at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Mollala, Oregon.
A 2009 KAST News investigation revealed that Fr. Ted Prentice, who at the time was the pastor controlling Star Of The Sea, had taken over all finances for the parish and the catholic school, had sold assets and ignored the parish financial committee while writing checks to a fund in Mexico that he had reportedly set up. The investigation also revealed that a mysterious woman Fr. Prentice had introduced as "Sister" and thought to be a catholic nun was not a nun but a woman who at one time had lived with Fr. Prentices' family when he was younger and was associated with Prentice as he ruled the Astoria catholic church with an iron hand often throwing tantrums when questioned by parishioners about financial matters.
The Portland Archdiocese eventually put controls in place to prevent Fr. Prentice from writing checks on the parish account but questions remained about a $500,000 bequest intended for the operation of Star Of The Sea School that had disappeared along with money intended for other charitable works of the parish. It was shortly after these events became public on KAST 1370 that Fr. Prentise was directed to address the church members on the allegations and make a full apology regarding of his actions. Instead he delivered a lengthy tirade about his powers as parish priest that observers said was no apology. In April of 2009 Prentise tendered his resignation at the suggestion of the Archdiocese and accepted reassignment. A financial investigation conducted by the Portland Archdiocese concluded that "No financial irregularities were found at Star of The Sea School" The church investigation did reveal that Fr. Ted had "mishandled or questionably disbursed parish funds. None, however, were for his personal use. The review found that approximately $83,000 in expenditures were questionable. Prentice agreed to reimburse the parish 60 percent of that amount, after questioning some of the analysis. The Parish Finance Council agreed.
"The Archdiocese will cooperate with any law enforcement authorities that may conduct their own investigation," said the final report. Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis told KAST news that the outcome of his investigation and that of thre Department of Justice found the actions taken by Fr. Prentice were within the legal bounds of his authority, even though they may have been poor decisions.
For some time now Fr. Prentice has been running St. James Parish in Mollala.
On Monday afternoon KAST News Director Tom Freel received an email from a woman identifying herself as Janet M. Burns that stated she had just read a Coastwatch Blog post (http://coastwatch.blogspot.com/2009/01/sins-of-father.html) detailing Fr. Prentice's actions at Star of Sea dated January 29, 2009 and saying that he is showing the same behavior in Mollala with the lady he called "sister" just found living with him in the chruch rectory.
Burns told KAST News that Fr. Prentice is "Spending money like it's going out of style". She states that he has brought in his own people to run everything and will not discuss anything with members of St. James who have been there for years. he throws temper tantrums if confronted about anything. Burns says Father Ted has fired three bookkeepers at this time saying " When one of them confronts him about his spending and where all the money is going he fires them". Burns charges further that he allows his own people to bully others and to discriminate against families he does not like.