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Stamping Ground Baptist Church Pastor Joe Moran says it hurt his reputation and left his congregation divided. But months after the Scott County man was charged with theft, a judge says he's innocent.
The allegations all started after some confusion over a check for the congregation. Joe Moran says he put that $900 check, that was addressed to him, into his own bank account last fall. He says he quickly realized the error and tried to fix it. But some people thought he was stealing the money.
"It was definitely a test of my faith," said Moran.
For Moran, times have been rough for the last 8 months. He says the allegations of theft rocked his world and divided his church.
"In the beginning, it was definitely difficult and hard to explain, especially to my children," said Moran. "My seven-year-old daughter kept asking me, if I was going to go to jail."
Some members even left the church, while others stuck it out and and gave Moran the benefit of the doubt.
"I've had a lot of support, people in our community have been supporting us and I really appreciate it," Moran said.
What Moran called an honest mistake from the very beginning, last week, a Scott County judge agreed, dropping the charges and dismissing the case.
"It was definitely a relief and it will allow us to move forward and continue our mission here," said Moran.
And while Moran says this has been a difficult time for everyone involved, he also says it has made his church community stronger than ever.
"We've really pulled together and things are going well and we hope things only get better from here," Moran said.
Moran says he has no hard feelings towards anyone and wants everyone to know his church doors will always be open.
Court documents stated a Scott County Judge said there was a lack of probable cause and Moran had no intent to deprive the church of the funds. The documents also stated the Commonwealth failed to prove Pastor Moran was guilty of the charges against him.