Priest accused of taking money said he was trying to help people - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Priest accused of taking money said he was trying to help people in Africa

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Honore Kombo. (Seymour police/WFSB photos) Honore Kombo. (Seymour police/WFSB photos)

A former priest accused of taking money from his parish in Seymour faced a judge on Monday.

Police said they began looking into Father Honore Kombo last April after they received a complaint from people at St. Augustine Church.

Officials with the Hartford Diocese said Kombo was let go back in November for allegedly embezzling $20,000. The money was left to the church by a parishioner who passed away.

After initially denying the allegations, police said Kombo admitted that he took about $27,000 and used it for projects in his home country of the Congo, specifically a plan to provide loans to the African county.

"Father Kombo stated he felt huge pressure as the 'Microfinance company had to maintain a certain financial threshold in order to get outside funding.' Father Kombo stated that this lead him to 'get into this unauthorized borrowing of money' from the church," court documents said.

But that wasn't all. Police said Kombo allegedly opened up an authorized line of credit under the church's name, with cash advances totaling more than $31,000, and as of right now, police said he still owe the church more than $33,000.

He was arrested last month after an almost 12-month investigation.

"I knew it was coming but it still hurts," said Jackie Sarkes, a parishioner.

Those who attend St. Augustine Church told Eyewitness News that they were extremely disappointed. Many said they considered Kombo a friend and an upstanding man.

"He came across as a man of the cloth," said Tom Sarkes, a parishioner. "You could picture him in the holy land coming out."

Eyewitness News attempted to speak with Kombo at his home in Weston, but he wouldn't respond to the allegations.

He faces a charge of first-degree larceny. He is due back in court later this month.

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