Wednesday, February 21, 2007

First ever: Shriner beats rap of 'conduct unbecoming a Shriner' after taped evidence shows they were 'trying the wrong man'

Sandy Frost's investigations into Shrine finances and activities continues with Connecting the Dots: Shriners (Part 13), published today on her website:
In what might be a first ever, a Shriner won in a Shrine court of law Saturday morning after being unsuccessfully charged with "conduct unbecoming a Shriner."

The victorious Shriner had served a year as a temple leader or "Potentate" and had grown suspicious after noting that there were no cash deposits after weekly bingo games at the Decatur Shrine Club. Things grew worse after he reported the alleged crime up the Shrine chain of command three years ago and nothing was done. He was then contacted by a reporter from the New York Times who ran a story on November 7, 2006 entitled "Shriners Seize a Clubhouse in a Dispute Over $119,000."

The NYT story claimed that the Decatur Shrine Club had been seized after a corporate audit revealed that only half the proceeds from a weekly bingo game were sent to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Shriner "law" states that 100% of the bingo proceeds should have been sent to the charity.

This victory is significant because those subjected to such a "trial" can't remember when, in the past ten years, such a Shrine court decision has been handed down.

A "Probable Cause Committee" had supposedly found enough evidence to try this past Potentate. The trial began at 9 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, 2007. At about noon, defendant's attorney presented a taped conversation that caused the judge/prosecutor, to declare that "we're trying the wrong man."

After this, an immediate attempt to appease the wrongly accused defendant began. As part of the settlement, the accused's legal fees were paid and in return, he signed a non-disclosure document specifying that he would not, among other things, discuss the case with the media.

"This is the first time in Shrine history, to my knowledge that an accused Shriner ever won in one of our trials" observed Reilly Rogers, who had been subjected to such a trial twelve years ago, back in 1995.
Read the whole story....

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