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Former Principal Arrested in Theft

October 23, 2002|Kenneth Reich | Times Staff Writer

A former principal at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School in Pasadena has been arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $200,000 from the school before leaving her job last February.

Shelly Ann Randall, 51, of Sierra Madre, has posted $90,000 bail and faces an initial court hearing Nov. 20 on one count of grand theft embezzlement, according to Pasadena police and the pastor of the Church of St. Philip the Apostle.

The pastor, Father Joseph Moniz, and the head of the school's Parent Teacher Student Organization, Colleen Welch, in an interview Tuesday said this was one of the most disappointing experiences of their lives.

"We noticed several questionable transactions on the books after she left," Moniz said. "We contacted the Pasadena police, who conducted their own investigation, leading to her arrest last Friday."

Welch said Randall, a UC Berkeley graduate and former teacher, had been "welcomed with open arms" when she arrived from the Bay Area to become principal in 2000.

"Frankly, the parents are shellshocked and feel betrayed," she said. "We trusted her to run a fine school for our children."

Moniz said, however, that he would delay a final judgment until a crime had been proved.

Randall could not be reached for comment.

On Monday night, Moniz and the current principal, Jennifer Ramirez, told parents of the alleged embezzlement and steps taken to make sure it would not happen again.

Moniz said that in the future, checks will require two signatures; all bank statements will be checked by the principal in the presence of a third party; an accounting professional will be hired as bookkeeper; and a certified public accountant will conduct regular audits.

All expenditures in excess of $3,000 will have to be approved by the pastor.

The school, with 441 students, has an annual budget of about $2 million and has served the Pasadena community for more than 75 years. The school tries to raise $150,000 a year in charitable contributions to help with tuitions, Welch said.

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