An openly gay Kentucky Mason who was suspended in 2011 for "un-masonic conduct" has been indicted by a Madison Grand Jury on charges that he stole from his lodge.
John Wright, who was formerly treasurer of a Richmond lodge, was indicted Feb. 22 on charges of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $10,000, according to the indictment.
From July 2009 until April 2011, when Wright was treasurer, he dealt with funds belonging to the Masons "as his own," the indictment said. The Masons are said to be the world's oldest and largest fraternity.
The indictment did not name the lodge. But Wright told the Herald-Leader in 2010 that he had held a leadership position at Lodge No. 25 in Richmond.
Wright could not be reached by telephone or e-mail on Wednesday.
Unrelated to the criminal charges, Wright was suspended indefinitely from the fraternity in April 2011 when he was found guilty of "un-masonic conduct" in a Masonic trial. He was accused of deserting his wife due to his homosexuality and revealing Masonic information that was considered privileged.
Kentucky State Police public affairs officer Paul Blanton said Wednesday that Kentucky State Police officials were informed in May 2011 that Wright had left the lodge and the Masons were requesting an audit because money was missing. The indictment did not say how much money was taken.
KSP Detective Monte Owens and a KSP auditor conducted an audit and Owens interviewed Wright before the case was presented to the Madison Grand Jury, Blanton said.
Blanton said a warrant had been issued for Wright but he had not been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon.
Officials at the Grand Lodge of Kentucky headquarters in Jefferson County on Wednesday did not respond to a request for a comment.
In addition to his role at the lodge at Richmond, Wright was Master of the Right Angle Lodge in Winchester from December 2009 until December 2010.
Wright has said he was married when he became a Mason in 2007. In December 2009, he was elected to serve as the Master of his Winchester lodge.
Wright and his wife filed for divorce in March 2010 because he realized he was gay, he said
In 2010, after John Wright told members of Right Angle Lodge in Winchester that he was gay, members of a lodge in Frankfort tried to change the Kentucky Masons' constitution to prevent openly gay men from becoming members. But that proposal was turned down at a statewide meeting in October 2010. At the time, Wright told the Herald-Leader he saw the vote as a sign that Masons in Kentucky would not discriminate against gays. But after being suspended in 2011, Wright said he thought there was a strong anti-gay sentiment among some members of the fraternity.
In the past, Wright had been a student at Eastern Kentucky University and had worked for a military defense contractor, he said in previous interviews.
Wright ran for Madison County constable in the May 2010 primary and lost, according to news reports.