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BATH, N.Y. (AP) Authorities say the former pastor of an upstate New York church has been charged with stealing more than $18,000 in church funds.

State police say 35-year-old Christopher Mathewson of Sharon, Pa., stole the money while serving at the First Presbyterian Church of Corning, near the Pennsylvania border in Steuben (stoo-BEHN') County.

Investigators say church officials began to notice discrepancies in financial records after Mathewson left the position at the end of 2011. Police began an investigation last December after an audit of church records showed thousands of dollars missing.

Investigators say Mathewson used church credit cards for personal spending.

He was charged with grand larceny. Mathewson is free on his own recognizance.

His lawyer, Kevin Van Allen, says the allegations are civil in nature and didn't rise to the level of a criminal act.