In this case, a well-paid ($150,000 per year) financial manager, 55-year-old David Glass, who had been a Mason for over 15 years, lost his job, and after exhausting his lines of credit and selling his home, embezzled funds from his brethren.
This story, and Bro. Connop's statement, raised a number of questions in my mind. Some of the questions are specific to United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) Masons. Other questions are more general in nature. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
- At what point, if any, could this have been avoided? Could, would, or should his local brethren have offered financial assistance and/or financial advice to their brother in distress, had they been aware of his situation before the crime was committed?
- Funds stolen between November 2004 and November 2005 apparently weren't even noticed missing until November 2006. Should a system have been in place that provided more immediate oversight? Should just one man have the ability to write checks and withdraw from lodge bank accounts?
- Bro. Connop's comment that when members fail to meet Masonic standards they are no longer Masons leads me to wonder how, in England, the removal of a Mason is carried out. Is there a "trial," or does a conviction in a government court automatically cause a brother to be expelled from the fraternity?
- Have you (American, British or otherwise) ever seen or participated in a Masonic trial? What did you think of it? Was it fair and impartial, even if the accused had already been convicted of a crime by the government courts, or was it mere formality with the outcome already pre-determined? Was the accused found guilty by his Masonic judges? If found guilty, was the accused expelled, suspended, or did he just receive a slap on the wrist? Were the charges even justified in the first place?
- What particular actions by a Mason, whether the actions are legally considered crimes or not, do you think should warrant a trial and/or expulsion for a Mason? Are specific crimes and actions that are considered unmasonic spelled out in your codes, or is the interpretation of "unmasonic conduct" left to the conscience (or whim) of the accuser?
- Does your lodge or grand lodge bring charges against a brother only after he is convicted of a crime, or do they take action before conviction, based only on accusation? Do they ever take action against a brother for unmasonic conduct that is not an actual crime?
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