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Popular Episcopal blogger charged with theft and misuse of funds

Popular Episcopal blogger charged with theft and misuse of funds

2419cf9A well-known Episcopal blogger and lay leader in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been accused of stealing funds from an elderly woman who gave him responsibility over her finances and who lives in a nursing home.

According to, Lionel Deimel, who keeps a popular blog tracking progressive causes, as well as goings on in the Episcopal Church and in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, earlier this week “was charged June 5 with two counts of theft and one count each of receiving stolen property and misappropriation of entrusted funds. He turned himself in to police Tuesday and was released on $10,000 bond.”

The Indiana (PA) Gazette reports

According to a criminal complaint filed June 5 in Mount Lebanon District Court, Deimel wrote to himself 72 checks totaling almost $104,000 from the woman’s PNC Bank checking account, deposited them in his own account, and used the funds for his own daily living expenses such as groceries, clothing, rent, utilities and loan payments. Investigators said Deimel also charged more than $17,000 of purchases and payments including veterinary hospitals, dentist and doctor offices, gas stations and grocery stores to the woman’s Bank of America credit card.

A criminal complaint shows Deimel, 68, was named a financial power-of-attorney agent for Jane Little in 2009 and was put in charge of managing Little’s money, including medical expenses and payments for her room and board at the Asbury Heights assisted living center.

Asbury Heights officials told police early this year that Little’s account had fallen $60,000 in arrears even though several letters had been sent to Deimel asking for payment.

Officials at Asbury Heights helped Little apply for Medicare assistance to pay her room and board, but the state Department of Welfare turned down the application in November after reviewing Little’s bank records, detective Jackelyn Weibel reported in the complaint.

Writen by Andrew Gerns


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George Conger

I do not question that this is news worthy of publication — but question the place of publication. In my view I believe the conduct alleged to have been committed belongs to the genre of police blotter reporting — but not in church news.

Jon White

By that logic, then we shouldn’t cover the killing of Tom Palermo by Heather Cook or the murder of the Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe, or protests in Ferguson or Baltimore – all of which were, essentially, secular criminal matters. But the church is the people who comprise it, and they are Christians and Episcopalians all the time and not just on Sunday or when in the sanctuary. So when people who are publicly associated with the church act in ways to draw public notice, whether on behalf of the church or no, it is news about the Episcopal Church.

Canon James Von Dreele

Tragic. I knew Jane when I was in the Diocese of Pittsburgh some years ago. She was a dynamic and faithful person.

Laura Sykes

Praying for Lionel and his family.

JC Fisher

Don’t know what to say, except Prayers.

Elizabeth Kaeton

Praying for Lionel, his family, Ms. Little, and everyone involved. Praying for justice to be served.

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