An Anglican minister and his wife were sentenced in court on Friday for defrauding their former parish in Conception Bay South.
But Judge Michael Madden didn't send them to jail for it.
'I find it amazing that two such people would take money for such a reason. Still a lot of question marks above my head, and it looks like it will stay that way.' - Judge Michael Madden
John Dinn, 55, was given two months' house arrest and a year's probation. His wife, Catherine, 52, was also sentenced to a year on probation, but received a conditional discharge, which means she won't have a criminal record.
John Dinn was an outspoken pastor at St. John The Evangelist Church in Topsail.
He had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and one count of theft. Catherine Dinn had pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud.
Between them, they forged almost $10,000 worth of cheques from July to November of 2012.
In sentencing John Dinn, Madden noted he was the spiritual leader of the church, and clearly in a position of trust.
He gave Catherine Dinn a lighter sentence because she was not in a position of trust, and was now the breadwinner of the family.
That, however, doesn't diminish the seriousness of the offences, said Ken Carter, the treasurer at St. John The Evangelist.
"It's important to remember in this case that this was not money that was intended to pay a light bill or to pay salaries at church. This was intended for charities and to help those who are less fortunate in our society, so it really hurts," said Carter, one of many in the courtroom on Friday, including parishioners and the current priest.
He noted one of the cheques the Dinns forged was supposed to help orphans in Uganda.
The Dinns said they took the money to pay for their two sons' tuition at St. Bonaventure's College, a private school in St. John's.
But in expressing his disbelief at the Dinns' actions, Judge Madden stated: "No doubt there is more to this."
"I find it amazing that two such people would take money for such a reason. Still a lot of question marks above my head, and it looks like it will stay that way," said Madden.
The Dinns were also ordered to pay back the $9,600 they took.
They have since returned about $8,000 of the total amount.