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Pikes Peak Christian Church employee accused of stealing $341K for vacations, lingerie, and sex toys

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The financial director of a Christian church in El Paso County is accused of stealing more than $341,000 from the church to buy various items for personal use like vacations, female undergarments, and even a personal vibrator, court documents say.

Detectives discovered that between March 2018 and July 2022, the suspect, identified as Sara Ann Mock-Butler, had stolen, defrauded, and forged documents resulting in the loss of a large quantity of money from Pikes Peak Christian Church.

On May 31, 2023, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPCSO) secured an arrest warrant for Mock-Butler for 896 Counts of financial-related crimes. She turned herself in but walked out the same day after posting her $10,000 bond. Now, 13 Investigates has obtained court documents that reveal how Butler allegedly pulled this off for close to five years.

In October 2022, EPCSO deputies responded to reports of a theft at Pikes Peak Christian Church. The lead pastor, Ross Frisbee, discovered that Butler had "stolen thousands from the church."

At that time, a new financial director had been hired after Butler resigned from her position months prior. The new financial director discovered that bank account balances were not matching the church's financial dashboards.

Detectives discovered that Butler made "527 financial transactions using the church's financial information." They found evidence that she was regularly "forging signatures" of three of the pastors at the church.

The sheriff's office brought Butler in for an interview to question her on these allegations. They asked her about one instance where they located a $10,000 transfer in Butler's personal account. She admitted that she made a purchase at Mattress Firm. Butler claimed she was going to pay the church back in cash. However, there were "no corresponding cash deposits" during that time, court documents say.

Detectives then questioned her on purchases made on Amazon, birthday and Christmas purchases with the church's money, and money used to pay for multiple vacations at places like Disney World and Jelly Stone Park. She responded to their questions about these purchases by saying, "I can't remember."

Arresting documents also reveal that Butler was allegedly using the church's funds to pay off her mother's credit card debt and pay off her own utility bills. Butler is accused of using the church's money to pay off over $22,000 of her mom, Angela Butler's, credit card debt on various cards. Records also say there were "7 payments to Colorado Springs Utilities for Sara's personal bills, $1,878.88."

The sheriff's office alleges that Butler was using Pikes Peak Christian Church's "tax-exempt status" to avoid paying taxes on many of the items she was purchasing. She is also accused of failing to pay proper amounts in taxes by "failing to report the misappropriated monies she received." Those monies were hundreds of thousands of dollars, records say.

13 Investigates reached out to Butler's attorney for comment on these allegations. At the time of publication, we have not heard back. However, we did speak with Ross Frisbie, the lead pastor who discovered these financial irregularities.

"For a while we had to, of course, watch our spending and some of the projects that we may have had earmarked for that money have to be put on hold for now," Frisbie said. "As far as normal ministry, things have been going well. The church responded very generously."

Frisbie said it is disappointing that a church member would take these great lengths to allegedly steal from them.

"I think any time you have a member who does something allegedly like this, that's tough. Really you just hope for restoration for them. It doesn't matter what a person does. That's what we always hope for is that there would be repentance and restoration for anybody," Frisbie said.

Frisbie said he is newer to the Pikes Peak Christian Church and doesn't fully know how this scheme went unnoticed for multiple years. However, he says they now have taken steps to ensure it can't happen again.

"In the end, it's a checks and balances thing. Just like any organization, you have to create those checks and balances, and they've certainly done that to have more oversight since then," Frisbie said.

The lead pastor hopes that one day they can receive "restitution" for the monies that were allegedly stolen. Until that point, he says the church members' trust in his leadership has not gone unnoticed.

"I think just our congregation members, although they had that initial shock when they found out, I think still showing trust in the staff and in the leadership was really important," Frisbie said. "I'm just thankful to them for continuing to trust the staff as they work to create a better checks and balances moving forward."

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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