NJ pastor resigns amid investigation into missing funds

November 07, 2018 - 5:51 pm

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- The longtime pastor of a New Jersey Catholic church has resigned amid an investigation into $500,000 missing from church funds.

The Rev. Douglas Haefner's decision was made public in a letter sent Thursday to the parishioners of St. Matthias Church in Franklin Township.

Diocese of Metuchen Bishop James Checchio wrote in the letter that Haefner has acknowledged he "borrowed" the money and blamed the issue on his "compulsive behavior." But further details haven't been disclosed.

It's not clear how much money may be missing overall. The Diocese is currently conducting a forensic audit of the parish.

Haefner served as a pastor at St. Matthias for 27 years. The church has 3,225 registered families.

A telephone number for Haefner could not be located Wednesday.