Attorney General Announces Charges and Arrests in Clergy Abuse Investigation
LANISNG - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, held a press conference to provide an update on the investigation into clergy abuse within the states’ seven Catholic Diocese.
After reviewing hundreds of thousands of document pages seized from the seven Catholic Diocese in October of 2018 and receiving more than 400 tips to the Attorney Generals Clergy Abuse Hotline, five men who were priests have been charged with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct. Four of the men have been arrested while one awaits extradition in India.
A sixth Michigan priest is facing an administrative complaint and his license as a professional educationally limited counselor has been suspended by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
“In the last 30 hours, more than a dozen members of our investigative team have been in courtrooms in Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb and Berrien Counties while other members of our team have been working with local law enforcement in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan,” said Nessel. “Almost all of these charges came as a direct result of calls to our tip line but were then corroborated by files seized from the dioceses last fall, followed by multiple interviews with victims.”
Charges for the five former priests are as follows:
• Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and four felony counts of CSC 2 – a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Crowley, who was a priest in various parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was arrested Thursday in Tempe, Arizona.
• Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Macomb County with four felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring. Kalina, who was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.
• Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of CSC 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and three felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. DeLorenzo, who was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.
• Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Wayne County with one felony count of CSC 3, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was arrested Thursday in Oak Park, Michigan.
• Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese, was charged with two counts of Rape, a maximum sentence of life in prison. Vellian was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Benton Harbor, and now lives in Kerala, India.
Nessel said that although these men are being charged with serious crimes, they are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.
Nessel was joined by Deputy Solicitor General Ann Sherman who said she hopes to bring all predators to justice to create a healing path for those who were victims.
“I know I speak for the entire team when I say that we are committed to ensuring this is a through and complete investigation,” she said.
Andy Russel, a victim of Father Francis Raap also spoke at the press conference saying Nessel should continue fighting for victims of clergy abuse and encourages victims to take advantage of the hotline.
“All you people that have stories to tell, pick up the phone because they’re right here and I’m seeing them and I feel it,” Russel said, “Your soul is not dead, it just needs some CPR and the paramedics are right here.”
Nessel went on to praise the 44 attorneys, special agents and Michigan State Police troopers who have been working around the clock as part of the investigative team following up on tips on the Attorney General’s hotline and going through the documents from the seven Diocese.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel said. “This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold all of them accountable.”
To contact the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline, call (844) 324-3374 or mi.gov/clergyabuse.