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Pastor Sentenced in Theft Case

COLUMBUS (Mike McCarthy/Kate Liebers) -- A Columbus pastor learned of his earthly punishment for stealing thousands of dollars from his own church.

Quentin Respress was ordered to pay $54,000 when he appeared in court Tuesday on charges of theft and forgery, to which he pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors said Respress caused the financial foundation at Macedonia Baptist Church to crumble.

The congregation sued him several years ago and was awarded more than $50,000. But its members said that their former pastor has not paid or repented to them.

"You have demonstrated uncontrollable greed," church member Edna Payne told Respress in court. "You were paid a salary, yet you stole money for your household bills."

Other pastors defended Respress at his criminal sentencing and told the judge the previous payment was too high.

"This man's integrity yet remains," Mt. Olivet Baptist Church Pastor Charles Booth said.

Respress confessed he was "not all that I would like to be."

"As a man of the flesh, I've made my mistakes," he said. "At no point, would I seek to maliciously take from God's church to whom I've been called to serve."

The pastor was not ordered to serve a prison sentence. He was instead put on probation for five years in addition to paying the restitution.  
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