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The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has confirmed that it contacted St. Mary’s prosecutors last year after a routine financial examination at St. Francis Xavier Church in Compton revealed losses, estimated by local authorities to be at least $300,000.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that the review of the church’s finances followed the retirement of the Rev. John Mattingly, and was performed by his successor.

The ongoing investigation, initially reported in last week’s edition of The County Times, followed the Rev. Brian Sanderfoot’s discovery of “some financial irregularities,” according to Chieko Noguchi, the archdiocese’s director of media and public relations.

The information was forwarded to the archdiocese, resulting in the inquiry into possible “improper handling of parishioner contributions by Father John Mattingly, the former pastor,” according to Noguchi.

“We confirmed the financial irregularities that came to light after Father Mattingly retired from the parish,” Noguchi said. “Father Mattingly was not able to provide a satisfactory explanation for the irregularities.”

The archdiocese contacted St. Mary’s prosecutors in January of last year, she said, and the church’s parishioners were told of the matter last month. “We continue to cooperate with the state’s attorney’s office in this matter,” she said.

No charges have been filed in the case. Mattingly now lives on the Eastern Shore, according to local authorities and a former parishioner, and he could not be reached this week for comment.

The church’s losses took place over “several years,” totaling a “minimum figure” of $300,000, according to local authorities, and occurred by converting parishioners’ donation checks to personal use, and writing checks that tapped into deposits made into the church’s bank accounts.

The church in Compton was Mattingly’s last assignment, Noguchi said, and he retired before the routine examination of the church’s records and the subsequent investigation.

jwharton@somdnews.com