Pastor accused of misusing funds

By the Daily Post staff

The longtime rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park has been placed on leave after a financial review determined that he had allegedly used at least $125,000 in church funds for personal spending in the past five years, the Episcopal Diocese said Sunday (April 19).

The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett, who has led Trinity Church at 330 Ravenswood Ave. for 10 years, was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California after he admitted to misusing funds, according to Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey of the Diocese.

The congregation was told about the allegations in an online meeting Sunday morning.

Churchgoers reacted with “sadness and disappointment and shock,” said Steven Andrew, a lay member of the church’s vestry, an oversight body elected by church members. The church draws between 150 and 170 people every Sunday, Andrew said.

He said he didn’t think the loss of the money would create a financial hardship for the church.

A spokeswoman for the diocese, Stephanie Martin Taylor, declined to say how Dutton-Gillett used the money, pointing out that there is a pending investigation under way.

She said church leaders intend to report the situation to police.

During the investigation, Dutton-Gillett may not function in sacramental, pastoral or administrative roles and has been denied access to the church building and church records, according to Bailey.

The diocese has sent Rev. Thomas Traylor to Menlo Park to serve as the parish’s priest-in-charge.