April 16, 2003 - Annapolis Capital: Tunisia RPCV Paul Arthur Murray faces trial for theft from women's shelter

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Tunisia RPCV Paul Arthur Murray faces trial for theft from women's shelter

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Minister faces trial for theft from women's shelter*

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Minister faces trial for theft from women's shelter


A Glen Burnie minister, county police chaplain and former executive for an African-American advocacy group is facing trial next month on charges he stole money from a women's shelter he directed in Baltimore.

A grand jury indicted the Rev. Paul Arthur Murray, of 7917 Parke West Drive, last year on charges he stole $44,000 from the Susannah Wesley House, said Joe Sviatko, a spokesman for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office.

A trial is set for May 5. If convicted, the Rev. Murray could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Plea discussions are under way, according to the Rev. Murray's attorney, William C. Mulford II of Annapolis.

"Our first concern is making sure any money, if it was improperly taken, is returned," he said this morning.

The Rev. Murray was formerly executive director of the Susannah Wesley House, which provides interim housing for homeless and abused women and their children.

Susan Thompson, the program's current executive director, declined comment this morning.

"That's in the past. We look at the future," she said.

For 18 months, the Rev. Murray also headed up the Annapolis-based RESPECT Foundation, a program aimed at educating minorities about the dangers of smoking. He resigned last month after informing group leaders about the charges, said Clemon H. Wesley, chairman of RESPECT, a coalition of activist groups.

"It was a shocker. As executive director he is a key individual," Mr. Wesley said.

The Rev. Murray was paid an annual salary of $60,000 with RESPECT, Mr. Wesley said. An ongoing audit of that program has not uncovered any accounting discrepancies, he said.

The Rev. Murray also worked as director of marketing and community relations for Hospice of the Chesapeake in Millersville from June 1998 until August 2000, spokesman Tricia Alvarez said.

As a police chaplain volunteer for the county police Eastern District from August 1999 until Feb. 27, the Rev. Murray counseled officers and crime victims.

Police spokesman Officer Charles Ravenell said the Rev. Murray had been suspended as a chaplain because of the pending charges.

Before joining Hospice of the Chesapeake, the Rev. Murray worked for Hospice Saint John in Hazelton, Pa. He also worked for the Peace Corps in Tunisia for two years and was awarded a commendation by the White House.

A graduate of the College of Boca Raton, he holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.

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