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Church sues ex-pastor over alleged theft

Staff Report • Mar 19, 2010 at 12:00 AM

A preacher who was supposed to be feeding his flock fleeced them instead, a lawsuit alleges.

Carpenter's Chapel Inc., a church on Dogwood Road in Solway, has filed suit in Knox County Chancery Court against former pastor Hobart Randalls "Randy" Tinch, alleging he robbed church coffers of $347,000 during his 19-year tenure there. Attorney Steve Shope, who is representing the church, said information gleaned from an audit of the church's books will be turned over to authorities for a criminal probe. Tinch, who lives in Oak Ridge, could not be reached for comment.

Shope described Tinch as a "charismatic" figure who used church offerings to support a lavish lifestyle that included pricey cars and expensive trips. The church was unaware of Tinch's alleged thievery until he stepped down as pastor in January 2008, when a resulting audit by a certified public accountant uncovered the misappropriation, Shope said.

Read the full report at the Knoxville News Sentinel Web site.

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