Archdiocese Removes Priests from Public Duty
The Church Has Investigated Accusations of Sexual Abuse against the Two. the Police Did Not Pursue the Cases Because the Allegations Are Too Old
Grand Rapid Press (Michigan)
August 23, 2004
DETROIT — The Archdiocese of Detroit has removed two priests from public duty after investigating complaints the priests sexually abused boys years ago.
The church announced the action Sunday but refused to say where or when the reported abuse occurred or where the Revs. Michael Malawy, 49, and Timothy Murray, 54, are now. Spokesman Richard Laskos said the victims were males, but he would not give their ages.
Laskos said the archdiocese began investigating the complaints in the spring, reported them to police, and determined the complaints were "substantive." He said both priests have cooperated and that police declined to pursue the cases because they are too old.
The church put the priests on administrative leaves of absence pending completion of the investigations, and they are not allowed to present themselves as priests to the public or serve as priests in churches.
The archdiocese said both incidents occurred early in the priests' careers.
Malawy was ordained in 1981. Between 1981 and 1987, he was associate pastor at St. Florian in Hamtramck, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, Divine Child and St. Alphonsus parishes in Dearborn, and St. Peter in Mount Clemens. He went on to be pastor at St. Aloysius in Romulus and chaplain at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and his most recent assignment was at St. Joseph in Maybee. He has been on medical leave since May 16, the archdiocese said.
"The church is concerned both for the alleged victim as well as the priest," the Rev. Robert Bauer, who has been serving as administrator at St. Joseph since May, said. Officials from the archdiocese addressed the 250-family parish on Sunday, he said.
Murray has been pastor of St. Edith in Livonia since 2000. He was ordained in 1977 and was associate pastor at St. Dorothy in Warren, St. Veronica in East Detroit, co-pastor at St. Linus at Dearborn Heights and pastor at St. Raphael in Garden City and St. Martin de Porres in Warren.
St. Edith parishioners were told of the action Sunday.
"I think it was a little shock and probably a lot of sadness," said youth minister Colleen Misiak.
The archdiocese initiated proceedings this month for church trials for three unnamed priests accused of molesting children and was planning a fourth.
Laskos said the most recent allegations are not connected to those trials, which are at a later stage in the investigation process and will determine if the men may remain priests.
The closed-door tribunals are conducted by a three-judge panel of canon law experts — either clergy or lay people — from outside the archdiocese. They are expected to take several months.
The Roman Catholic Church requires sexual abuse cases be submitted to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for review, and the archdiocese has submitted 23 cases, a spokesman said this month. Of the 13 cases the Vatican has returned to Detroit, six will be handled by Cardinal Adam Maida, four have church trials pending, one priest was reinstated, one was reduced to a layman and one died.
In addition, several lawsuits are pending against the archdiocese from victims of abuse. A judge in Wayne County ruled last week that the plaintiffs in one of the suits had a right to sue, despite having waited nearly 30 years.
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