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Last year, Father Brian Stanley from the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was arrested and criminally charged with false imprisonment because he punished a child in 2013 by wrapping him in plastic and duct tape, covering up his eyes and mouth, and throwing him in a janitor’s closet. The boy was left in a janitor's closet for more than an hour, and Stanley did this on more than one occasion. Stanley pleaded guilty in November and now he is sentenced to prison, but the duration of his punishment is under a big question mark.
This January, in a courtroom in Allegan, Michigan, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Together with this time in jail he will also serve five years probation and must register as a sex offender for 15 years. According to The Herald Review, the attorney general's office claimed that Stanley's conduct was “sexually motivated” so that is why he will be placed on a public registry.
Defense attorney Michael Hill did not agree with this. “There's a big dispute about that,” Hill said, as The Herald Review reports. “There is no evidence about it. I objected to Father Stanley being placed on the registry, although under the statute it's required regardless of whether criminal sexual conduct is alleged.” Besides this objection, Stanley's defense attorney also tried to defend him by explaining that Stanley was in treatment after his conduct and that he was projecting his trauma onto others.
The boy was certainly left with a life-long trauma after what he experienced and the question is whether two months in jail is an adequate punishment for the crime Stanley committed. Imagine being a teenage boy who is supposed to be counseled by a priest; a person who should be wise, patient and a comforting figure. Then imagine being "tortured" by that same person you put your trust in. A teenage boy who sought counsel and comfort from a priest ended up in a janitor's closet wrapped in plastic and tape with his eyes and mouth shut for more than an hour. Those 60 minutes probably felt like 60 days to that boy. The punishment for this serious crime appears to be very light. Another question begs how much responsibility does the Church deserve for employing someone like Stanley and not reporting his crimes for more than five years?