Regional
5:40 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Accountant and Wife Plead Not Guilty to Charges of Embezzling Funds from Abbey of Gethsemani

A sign welcomes visitors to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County.
A sign welcomes visitors to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County.
Credit Abbey of Gethsemani

A former bookkeeper at a Nelson County abbey and his wife are pleading not guilty to dozens of charges that they took more than $1 million from the religious organization.

John and Carrie Hutchins appeared in a Nelson County courtroom Thursday for an arraignment. They were each indicted earlier this month on a total of 348 charges. Police say John Hutchins began embezzling money from the Abbey of Gethsemani in 2008.

The Catholic monks at the 166-year-old abbey take vows of silence and operate Gethsemani on the profits from selling desserts and cheeses through the mail.

In February, staffers discovered some improper financial transactions and told police. A judge set the trial for September.

John Hutchins has denied the charges and says Abbey leaders made the accusations after he came forward in January with concerns over alleged  sexual affairs at the abbey between monks and female lay employees, between monks and outside women, and between a lay supervisor and an employee under his supervision.