Editor’s note: We have made this story free to read in hopes that you will see firsthand our dedication to keeping our community informed and connected. Will you consider now? For just $1 a week, you will support non-editorial local news and be up to date on what’s happening in the community. Consider reading more by clicking here.
A former St. Bede Catholic Church employee accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the church will appear in court March 26.
That appearance for Emily Hope Joyner will be in the Williamsburg-James City County General District Court at 1 p.m. She is charged with eight counts of embezzlement.
York Poquoson Sheriff’s deputies arrested Joyner, of Yorktown, in November on allegations of embezzling more than $20,000 from the church in the course of four months in 2019, according to court documents.
Joyner, 45, who worked as an IT specialist for St. Bede in Williamsburg, used two church credit cards approximately 86 times, and not for official church expenditures, according to court papers.
Authorities said in the complaint that the church became aware of the misuse on the credit card on March 26, 2019 when they found unauthorized charges associated with a PayPal account for an online book publishing business called The Witching Hour Press.
Despite Joyner claiming she had no knowledge of The Witching Hour Press, she is listed as the company’s editor-in-chief, according to court documents.
The complaint alleged Joyner’s laptop showed numerous visits to PayPal, The Witching Hour Press website, and posts about Trinity Hanrahan which featured photos of Joyner.
Court documents showed one account was logged into as Trinity Hanrahan, Joyner’s pen name, and was used to send $19,396.43 belonging to St. Bede’s to The Witching Hour’s PayPal account, according to the complaint.
A search warrant revealed Joyner had eleven PayPal accounts, some of which were locked, closed or inactive, according to court documents.
Joyner allegedly sent $2,148 to an account under the name “ZAMECH,” which was listed under the name Melissa Goldsmith.
Goldsmith owns the home where Joyner and her family live and investigators believe Joyner was using the money to make rent payments, according to court documents.
Joyner also allegedly sent $539.06 of St. Bede’s money via PayPal to an author with The Witching Hour Press.
Joyner was taken to the Peninsula Regional Jail following her arrest on Nov. 20, 2019 – she was released on recognizance and a bond of $2,500 on the same day.
St. Bede Catholic Church declined to comment.