Plea deal in works for Greek Orthodox priest charged with theft

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The Rev. James Dokos, shown in 2014, has reached a plea deal in his theft case, authorities said Feb. 10, 2016. (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)

The Rev. James Dokos, shown in 2014, has reached a plea deal in his theft case, authorities said Feb. 10, 2016. (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)

Source: Chicago Tribune

by John Keilman
Chicago Tribune

A Greek Orthodox priest charged with stealing more than $110,000 from a church trust fund has reached a tentative plea deal with prosecutors, authorities said Wednesday.

The Rev. James Dokos, who lives in Chicago, is accused of taking the money from a $1.2 million fund he controlled at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee and spending it on himself, family members and other church officials.

The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office charged Dokos with theft in 2014, two years after he had left Annunciation to become head of Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview.

The suggested plea deal will be brought before a judge Feb. 22, a day before Dokos’ trial was due to start. Prosecutor David Robles said he could not discuss the deal’s particulars, and Dokos declined to comment. The priest’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The church placed Dokos on unpaid leave following the criminal charge. His lawyers last year unsuccessfully tried to argue that the case was a violation of religious freedom, casting it as a dispute over the use of church property.

The case has roiled the church on both sides of the state line. Leaders with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago have said that Dokos used the funds properly and ousted a member of the Sts. Peter and Paul parish council who sought Dokos’ suspension.

Meanwhile, the priest who succeeded Dokos at Annunciation, the Rev. Angelo Artemas, said last year he was released from his duties at the Milwaukee church after arguing with church leaders over their handling of the inquiry.

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2 Comments

  1. George D Karcazes on

    If Dokos, with the advice of his attorneys, has agreed to enter a “plea deal”, what does that mean in terms of his “priesthood” in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Metropolis of Chicago? Until the Court is informed by the Prosecutor and Dokos’ attorneys the terms of the “deal” and the Court agrees, we will not know for sure what penalty the Court will impose on the defendant. Will he seve some time in jail? Will he be ordered to pay restitution to the parish whose monies he is charged with stealing? Will he receive probation in exchange for his admission of guilt? The “plea deal” may include some or all of these possibilities. Whatever happens in the Courtroom in Milwaukee is of concern only to Dokos and the People of the State of Wisconsin.. the Rule of Law.. the enforcement of the criminal laws of Wisconsin.

    Thus far the Archdiocese has been mostly silent about the entire Kantzavelos/Dokos scandal. To its credit, the Archdiocese through its General Counsel, the late Emmanuel Demos, it’s Executive Director, Jerry Dimitriou and its acting General Counsel, Cathy Walsh submitted letters to the Court countering the attempt by Dokos’ attorneys, supported by the Metropolis of Chicago, to dismiss the criminal case on “separation of Church and State” grounds.

    What has the Archdiocese said about the monies Dokos paid to Bishop Demetrios, the Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago from the trust funds that should have been turned over to the parish in Milwaukee? Or the other trust fund monies Dokos sent to other Hierarchs of the Church? Setting aside any consideration of a Hierarch knowingly or unwittingly accepting what turn out to be stolen property from a priest who may be under their authority, is it ever ethical for a priest to make and a Hierarchs to accept such payments?

    Are the Archbishop, Holy Eparchial Synod, and Ecumenical Patriarchate all unaware of the ethical issue involved here? Is the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council also unaware of this issue? What about the esteemed faculty of our Seminary? If Dokos pleads guilty to a crime in Milwaukee will he be defrocked, or wil he be transferred to another Parish in the Metropolis of Chicago or somewhere else? We will know soon.

  2. George,

    He’s be asked to shave his mustache, grow an “athonite” style beard and be assigned to serve, incognito, at a small and obscure parish somewhere in the Midwest.

    Pola to Eti!!

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