Fr. James Dokos Pleads Guilty to Theft
CHICAGO – Father James Dokos pleaded guilty on February 21 to the charge of stealing more than $100,000 from his Church.
“In court, Dokos told the judge he understood the terms but he did not speak further. He also left court without commenting,” the Chicago Tribune reported. The disgraced priest had missed previous court appearances due to health problems according to his lawyers.
Fr. Dokos “was accused of taking the money from a trust fund that was intended to benefit Annunciation Church in Milwaukee and spending it on himself, family members and other church leaders, including cash gifts to a high-ranking church official in Chicago….Dokos was later transferred to Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Glenview but was suspended after he was charged with felony theft in Milwaukee,” according to Under a settlement approved in Milwaukee court Monday morning, Dokos agreed to plead guilty to felony theft and prosecutors agreed to reduce the case to a misdemeanor if the priest meets the terms of the agreement. He must pay full restitution, which he has done, and he must serve 40 hours of community service,” according to the Tribune.
The case disrupted the Metropolis of Chicago, especially disturbing relations between the hierarchy in Chicago the Glenview and Milwaukee parishes. The Metropolis “ousted the parish council president in Glenview after he raised questions about how the internal investigation was handled, and other members left in protest. The priest who replaced Dokos in Milwaukee, and who had spoken out about the case, was later transferred…Before church leaders in Milwaukee contacted local authorities about concerns over the trust fund, the Metropolis’ internal investigation had determined that Dokos had spent the money in accordance with the wishes of the couple who had willed the money to the church,” wrote the Tribune, which also reported that”
“Court records and a Tribune investigation showed that Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the No. 2 official in the Metropolis, received thousands of dollars in checks written from the trust fund account and signed by Dokos over about a three-year period. A spokesman later described such gifts to priests as ‘honoraria’ that are traditional in the church and said the source was not questioned.
“The bishop was later warned by a Milwaukee prosecutor about “potential efforts to intimidate witnesses” in the case related to emails he exchanged with the Milwaukee priest who was later transferred.”
Jim Gottreich past PC president of Sts. Peter and Paul was removed by the Metropolis after he asked for Fr. Dokos to be placed on leave during the criminal investigation.
Gottreich said the priest should serve time upon being convicted of theft
“He has destroyed two churches,” Gottreich said. “I’d like to see him go to jail.”
He is also angered at the conduct of Church leadership. “The fish rots from the head,” he said, and noted that parish attendance and donations have been down since the incident.