CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio-- He called himself a man of God, but some people call him a con artist. A local minister faces charges, accused of bilking an elderly woman out of tens of thousands of dollars.
"Jesus never came after people looking for money; he came by and prayed and God healed them through prayer. You don't pay for healing from anybody," said one member of Trinity Church of God in Cuyahoga Falls, who does not want to be identified.
The member is among several that are horrified over the accusations against one-time visiting pastor, Richard Boley, 67.
"He's not a very nice man, not at all. He preys on the elderly, anybody he feels he can take advantage of in the name of Christ," said the member.
According to Barberton Municipal Court records, Boley is charged with a count of theft from the elderly, a third degree felony. He was released on bond Monday after a brief court appearance.
"His ploy is "Jesus told me you should do this or Jesus will bless you if you do this. He's just a scam, a scam artist that preys on the weak, usually the sick and the elderly, whatever he can to get their money," the member said.
The church member believes some of her elderly relatives were potential victims. Barberton police believe more victims could be out there.
"The church now is solid. We're strong. We don't tolerate any of this kind of stuff. He does not represent this church at all."
Church trustee Oliver Pardee said Boley was a visiting pastor from 1993 until they parted ways with him in 1996.
He released a statement, which reads:
"It is not our church policy to kick someone when they are down. We have always yielded to the Lord and tried to help people when we can. The allegations against Richard Boley are horrendous, and our job was to love him as long as we could, and when he chose to go a different route, all we could do was cut him loose and pray for him. We have not dealt with, nor heard from Richard Boley in the 18 years since he left the church."
Pardee said he believes Boley knew the alleged elderly victim from his days as a member of the church. He believes he somehow got reacquainted with her last year.
Boley is scheduled to appear in Barberton Municipal Court again Wednesday afternoon.