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DEWITT, Michigan — A Catholic priest is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from three retired priests in the Lansing, Michigan, diocese.
Father David Rosenberg was arraigned Thursday on embezzlement charges and other crimes in Clinton County, north of Lansing, the attorney general’s office said.
Rosenberg, 70, was director of the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt for six years until he retired from active ministry in 2021.
He’s accused of stealing approximately $830,000 from three priests who lived at the center and using the money to fund his own foundation, prosecutors said. Two of the priests now are deceased.
Rosenberg’s attorney said the priest is innocent.
“So what’s more reasonable: The attorney general’s story of a mastermind manipulator who doesn’t even personally benefit from the crimes, or the possibility that clergy wanted to be charitable with their earthly treasures as they contemplated the eternal? We think the latter is far more reasonable,” said lawyer Dustyn Coontz.
He said one of the deceased priest’s heirs “decided that any money not directed towards her must have been stolen, so here we are.”
Diocese spokesman David Kerr said the allegations were “deeply disturbing.”
“Our prayers go out to all involved, in particular to the alleged victims,” Kerr said.