A Newberry County pastor who encouraged congregants to help a family supposedly struggling to fund a teen's cancer treatments said Thursday he feels responsible for his parishioners' misled goodwill.
"It was my idea for the church to kind of help them," Wayne Tobias told The Associated Press. "Nobody wanted any proof or anything because we didn't think anything was fishy about the situation. We thought it was a legitimate situation."
On Wednesday, a judge found Angela Ann Chapman, 35, guilty of breach of trust and ordered her to pay more than $1,800 in restitution or face a possible 30-day jail sentence and additional fines. The Whitmire woman was arrested last month and initially charged with obtaining goods under false pretenses after authorities said she asked for money to help with expenses after she said her 15-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
Tobias, who has pastored God's Healing Springs Church in Whitmire for five years, said he met the teen earlier this year when she came to church with her grandparents. During a subsequent meeting with Chapman and the teen, Tobias said the mother told him she'd learned of the teen's illness when the girl's blood was tested to see if she were a match to donate a kidney to Chapman. The doubly heart wrenching tale plucked at his emotions and spurred him to action, he said.
"When they told me that, I thought, well, that's just awful," Tobias, who gave the family $100 on the spot to help with gas or groceries, told AP.