Plea deal in works for Greek Orthodox priest charged with theft

Source: The Chicago Tribune

By reporter John Keilman

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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.