Ministry Suspended Four Years Over Misuse of Funds

By Mark Michael

A forensic investigation revealed that The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett, former rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park, California, misused more than $200,000 in parish funds for personal spending between 2011 and 2020, according to a pastoral letter written by the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, on October 3. The amount of funds uncovered by Evidentia Consulting was more than what the parish had initially uncovered. The report was turned over to local police.

Andrus also said that he was restricting Dutton-Gillett’s ministry for four years, under the terms of the Episcopal Church’s Title IV disciplinary canons. During this period, Dutton-Gillett may not exercise his ministry as a priest or to work in any capacity within the church that involves the management of funds.

Andrus also note that Dutton-Gillett “is required, in the words of Canon IV.1, to engage in ‘repentance, restitution, and amendment of life.’ This includes restitution of the misused funds to Trinity Parish. At the end of those four years, taking into account his conduct during the period of restriction, I may remove him from the priesthood or modify, sustain, or remove the restrictions on ministry.”

Dutton-Gillett was officially removed as Trinity’s rector on September 5, but he and his family continue to live in the church’s rectory with the permission of the bishop. A new priest in charge, the Rev. Thomas Traylor, is now leading the congregation.

Dutton-Gillett has served as a priest since 1992. Prior to becoming Trinity’s rector in 2009, he served as rector of parishes in Knoxville, Tennessee and Sycamore, Illinois.

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