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“It’s very hard:” Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church trying to move on after priest accused of embezzling

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Bouncing back after an alleged embezzlement: The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee is trying to revive itself after falling into a financial slump. This, after a former priest is accused of improperly spending thousands of dollars from a church trust fund. James Dokos faces a Class G felony charge of theft (embezzlement), value exceeding $10,000 -- and he was a "no show" for his first two court appearances.

62-year-old Dokos is accused of tapping into an Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church trust fund -- to the tune of about $100,000.

Dokos was transferred to the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Glenview, Illinois in 2012 -- where he most recently served.

Last month, Dokos was placed on unpaid administrative leave and was suspended from his duties as parish priest at the church in Glenview.

Members of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church say they've experienced a myriad of emotions since learning of the allegations against Dokos.

"I'm just very saddened. It's very hard," a church member said.

"He was very good to us. I don't know. I still don't believe it happened," church member Despina Panos said.

"When we realized that there were financial difficulties here and that there was a trust involved, it was very disheartening and all these circumstances have been very sad for us. We are experiencing some financial difficulties," Current Priest Father Angelo Artemas said.

Father Artemas says the alleged theft, carried out by someone so trusted within the church is an unfortunate thing, but he says he has full trust in the court system.

"This is America. Everybody is entitled to their defense as well, and our sincere prayers are with Father Jim Dokos as well," Father Artemas said.

Others are looking toward their faith -- praying justice is served.

"Only God knows the truth, and he will give us the answers," Panos said.

Lately, it's been difficult to even get Dokos in front of a judge. He was a "no show" for his first two scheduled court appearances -- claiming he missed them due to car problems and an illness.

He finally showed up for his initial court appearance on Friday, July 18th.

As Dokos moves through the court system, members of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church say they're just trying to move on.

"We just really want to move on. We really come here to worship and believe in Jesus and that`s what it`s all about. We`ll survive," church member Constantine Stamantelakys said.

The court ordered Dokos to be booked and released by 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 19th. If he failed to appear, a bench warrant would be issued for his arrest.

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