BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- A show of support tonight for an embattled priest.
Last night, WINK News showed you how Father Stan Strycharz allegedly spent more than a million dollars of church money for personal use.
Today, parishioners of Saint Leo's Catholic Church are speaking out in support. They say, despite the accusations, they're standing by their priest.
Jan Zimmer is still a strong supporter of Father Stan Strycharz. "I think that we need to look at what Father Stan has done, he has created a huge parish, he has created an educational system, he's made a church to be proud of," she said.
Bishop Frank Dewane broke the news of the alleged misuse of funds to parishioners, who say, he also ordered the priest to remain silent. Supporters like Victoria Soave want that to change. "I think Bishop Duane needs to lift the gag order. We only hear little snippets here and there, and we should hear Father Stan's side of the story," said Soave.
This isn't the first time Father Stan has been in the spotlight. In the past, he also confessed to fathering a child. Even then, he had support, from those apart of the Save the Southwest Florida Diocese group.
In a letter, the group says the Bishop has "no purpose other than defaming a good and devoted priest."
"We're all human, we all make mistakes, and part of the catholic philosophy is to forgive," said Zimmer.
"God teaches us to forgive. we need to forgive, we need to hear more information about the money issues," said Soave.