Published: 15:19, 30 November 2011
The coach and founder member of Canterbury Fencing Club has escaped an immediate jail sentence for the second time in a year.
Paul Romang, who appeared under his real name Frederick, was given a suspended sentence in November last year for sex offences.
Now the 59-year-old has avoided going to prison again for stealing more than £39,000.
Romang, of Grange Way, Broadstairs, had admitted defrauding the St George Abadan Chapter of the Freemasons in Chatham, where he was the treasurer.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how he had paid cheques into his own account of sums between £2,000 to £3,000, 21 times over 14 months.
The court heard that since his arrest and guilty plea at an earlier hearing, his wife had repaid the money.
Prosecutor Alex Rooke told how a former member of the Freemasons had left the organisation £100,000 in his will.
But when Romang appeared in court charged with abusing one of his former pupils, officials read a newspaper account of the case and began an investigation.
Mr Rooke said they noticed that the £100,000 had “diminished severely” and it was revealed that Romang had been paying money into his own account.
John O’Higgins, defending, had said at an earlier hearing: “He wrote cheques to himself. He accepts he was dishonest, not withstanding that he was planning to pay the Lodge interest and ultimately to repay the capital.”
Romang admitted a charge of fraud and was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years. He was also given a four-month curfew order from between 7pm and 7am.
Mr O’Higgins said Romang now had heart problems and since his sex conviction had given up teaching youngsters fencing.
He had been convicted of sexual activity with a child when in a position of trust in October last year. A court heard how he had become obsessed with the teenager and showered her with gifts and promises of travel.