CRIME
01/24/2012 11:12 am ET Updated Jan 24, 2012

Pastor Accused Of Embezzlement: Rev. Arthur Pearson Preaches Again At Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church

A Michigan pastor is slated to take the pulpit on Sunday - just a month after he was charged with embezzling cash from the very church where he preaches.

The Rev. Arthur Pearson of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids allegedly misappropriated up to $237,000 in church funds since 2008. But a judge in Kent County said Monday that he has no right to bar Pearson from church grounds, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

The judge cut off Pearson's access to church finances, credit cards, keys and computers while he awaits trial on embezzlement charges, but church officials can and will let Pearson hit the pulpit on Sunday.

"This will leave it to the church members, the trustees and Rev. Pearson to peacefully work out what will happen this Sunday," Bernard Schaefer, the church trustees' attorney, told the newspaper.

Pearson had been on leave from the church since December, when auditors said they found evidence proving that Pearson, his wife and his former bookkeeper stole the cash, according to CBS affiliate WWMT-3.

But when a judge ruled on Monday that he had no business in stopping a preacher from preaching, the church gave Pearson his robes back.

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