Secretary charged with stealing from Catholic school

Secretary Charged With Stealing From Catholic School

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Some parents lining up outside Holy Names Catholic School in North Memphis Tuesday awaiting dismissal of the fewer than 100 students there were still unaware of the school secretary's arrest on theft charges.

"I can't believe it," said James Cooper.

Cooper is a Protestant pastor and expected more from people who work at a Catholic school.

"Knowing the teachers and principals I've met here," said Cooper.  "It's hard to believe they would have a staff member that would do something like that, you know?"

55-year-old Debra Harris was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with stealing more than $13,000 over a five-month period.

Police say she admitted to pocketing tuition money, lunch fees, and proceeds from basketball games.

"We have a lot of parents upset because they were paying cash to stuff and then got letters in the mail saying they owed money for tuition," said parent Deatra Jolly.

She told us things are starting to make sense.

"We just know everything has to be in money order or check form from now on," said Jolly.

School officials could not comment on the charges against the secretary.  They referred us to the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

"Personnel are cooperating fully with authorities during the ongoing investigation," said a spokesperson.

"We're innocent until proven guilty," said Pastor Cooper.  "And we're not to judge anyone."

Cooper said he still has faith in the school if not everyone who works here.

Debra Harris is due in court Wednesday morning.

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