There’s nothing like a juicy scandal to rock the house of the Lord.
Bishop Franklin L. Fountain, lead pastor of Fountain of Youth Cathedral in Bridgeport, Conn., will soon face a Superior Court judge after authorities said he forged deed documents and sold the congregation’s church to himself for the low low price of $1.
Fountain took over as pastor of the 57-year-old church after his father, Franklin D. Fountain, died in 2005.
The pastor was charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery after city property records listed him as the proud owner of the church, which is valued at $1.5 million, the CT Post reported. If convicted, Fountain could spend over 20 years in jail.
“Isn’t this all ridiculous?” Fountain, 55, said Wednesday after being released on his own recognizance and a promise to show up in court. “I am the pastor and I deserve respect and I expect that this will all be worked out.”
Police Det. Francis Podpolucha said authorities learned of Fountain’s alleged crimes after they received a complaint from the church’s Board of Directors, Fountain’s younger brother James Fountain and his uncle Donald Fountain, who accused him of altering deed documents without proper authorization from the board.
The bishop’s lawyer, Errol Skyers, said he’s waiting to review the police report before commenting on the matter.
There’s no word on whether Fountain will remain as head pastor of the church.