Diocese: Priest admits to stealing $1,700 from church

Diocese: Priest admits to stealing $1,700 from church

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Father Avery Hanna is on administrative leave and he will soon face criminal charges because he admitted to stealing $1,700 from Saint Mary on the Hill, where he was an assistant pastor.

A statement from the Diocese of Savannah says Hanna confessed to taking cash, candle money, tithes and poor box money from the church over a period of several weeks.

Just five months ago Father Avery Hanna gave his first priestly blessings as an ordained Catholic priest.

While Hanna was in seminary, he told the diocese, "being a seminarian has been a rather humbling experience for me as I realize that the people of God will one day be entrusted to my care for their Spiritual needs."

The missing money was discovered by bookkeepers.

The diocese says Hanna will remain on leave until they learn the outcome of the criminal charges and determine his immigration status - he's from the Bahamas.

We spoke with several members who give to the church, they all refused to comment.

Even though they wouldn't speak on camera, some told Fox54 that they're willing to forgive him because everyone makes mistakes.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says charges haven't been filed yet.

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