The Richmond Register

March 13, 2012

Man accused of stealing from Masons arrested

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A man who is accused of stealing more than $10,000 from a Richmond Masonic lodge has been arrested in Hardin County.

John D. Wright, 27, of Radcliff, was arrested Saturday morning by the Kentucky State Police, according to the Hardin County Detention Center’s website. An arrest warrant for Wright had been issued after a Madison grand jury indicted him last month on a felony charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

Wright is being held without bond and will be transported to Madison County Detention Center. Court records show the case has been assigned to Madison Circuit Court Judge Jean C. Logue.

The charge against Wright was a direct submission to the grand jury, meaning the case had not proceeded through Madison District Court first. Most criminal cases begin with arrest and proceed in district court. Felony cases typically are referred by the judge to the grand jury. If a person is indicted on one felony charge or more by the grand jury, the case will continue in circuit court.

Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith said the KSP and Richmond Masonic Lodge 25 had requested the case be directly submitted to the grand jury. KSP Detective Monte Owens testified at the closed hearing about the “lengthy investigation” conducted by the agency into Wright’s handling of the lodge’s funds from July 2009 to April 2011, according to KSP Post 7 Public Affairs Officer Paul Blanton. Blanton said an investigative audit was conducted of the lodge’s records.

Other than the indictment, Wright’s case file did not contain any additional information about the alleged crime. The indictment states he “obtained company funds ... and then dealt with the funds as his own and thereby obtained property from the company of the value of more than $10,000.”

In 2010, Wright told a Winchester Masonic lodge, at which he was the Master, that he was gay, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader story. He had been with the organization since 2007.

Wright told the newspaper that lodge members asked for his resignation, which he refused to give. Later that year, a proposed change to the Masonic state constitution to bar openly homosexual members was voted down at the group’s state gathering.

However, organizational charges were brought against Wright for going public with private Masonic information and forsaking God by declaring his homosexuality. A Masonic trial found Wright guilty of “un-Masonic conduct” on April 8, and he was indefinitely suspended, according to the Lexington newspaper.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@

richmondregister.com or 624-6694.