SEATTLE (AP) — A former pastor from the tiny town of Oso has pleaded guilty to stealing church funds, as well as money intended for mudslide survivors.
57-year-old Gary Ray pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of first-degree theft with aggravating circumstances.
He is expected to be sentenced in Island County Superior Court in February.
Ray is a former pastor at an Oso church. Allegations were raised while he was leading a new congregation at Restoration Church on Camano Island. A bookkeeper there noticed that $6,000 was missing and an investigation was launched.
In 2018, Ray was arrested and accused of stealing $40,000 from an Oso fundraising effort, and also $6,000 from the Camano church. Court documents stated that after Ray helped raise the money for Oso, he transferred the funds into his personal bank account with no intention of distributing the money to survivors.