The Catholic Diocese of Lansing in Michigan listed 17 priests that have been “credibly accused of abusing a minor” since the diocese was founded in 1937. Officials say there have been no cases since 2002. "The Lansing Diocese has taken an important step today by publicly sharing information about priests who have been credibly accused of abusing minors. We welcome this transparency by the Diocese and will continue to work on our own efforts to pursue justice for the victims of clergy abuse,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.
As the Diocese of Lansing divided clergy (who were subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor) into four categories:
I. Diocese of Lansing clergy permanently removed from ministry
II. Diocese of Lansing deceased clergy
III. Extern clergy – clergy of other dioceses – that had a credible allegation of sexual abuse during their time in the Diocese of Lansing.
IV. Religious Order clergy with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during their time in the Diocese of Lansing.
The interesting thing is that all of the priests included in the list are now either dead or no longer in active ministry, according to Diocese officials. They represent about 2.8% of all 1,654 priests who have served within the Diocese of Lansing in its 82-year history. Furthermore, diocese officials said more than 90% of those allegations stem from a three-decade period beginning in the 1960s.
One bishop actually said he hopes publishing the list will lead to more people telling their stories.
“The primary intended audience of this list are victims of abuse: to encourage presently unknown victims to come forward; to help victims expose their abusers; and to assist victims in finding healing — it is also hoped that this information will assist all to ensure that such abuse never happens again,” Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing said in a statement Friday.
“I know I am not alone in feeling deep shame and sorrow upon learning of the plight of victims in recent years. I have met with many of them; all deserve our compassion, solace and support,” his statement continued. “As a Church, we are deeply sorry for what happened to you. As your bishop, I offer you a profound apology for the sins of my brothers. As a diocese, we are pledged to help you find healing and peace.”
According to their website, the Diocese of Lansing has a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse of minors and those with credible allegations are removed from ministry. Let’s hope that this list shows the true picture of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing in Michigan, but it is more likely that the list should include many more names.