Former Priest Abused Minors, Investigation Finds

Detroit Free Press [Marquette MI]
August 24, 2005

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) -- An investigation has determined that a longtime Upper Peninsula priest who died five years ago sexually abused minors, the Catholic Diocese of Marquette said.

A review board validated allegations regarding the Rev. Clement LePine, the diocese said in a statement this week. It said members of St. Joseph Parish in Ishpeming, where LePine was pastor for nearly 30 years, were informed of the findings after masses last weekend.

Two women reported earlier this year that LePine had abused them as young children during the 1960s and 1970s, the statement said.

The Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People assisted Bishop James Garland in studying the complaints. The board is composed of two priests and six lay persons, including three social workers and a psychiatrist.

Garland approved the victims' request to remove LePine's name from the St. Joseph Parish Hall and his photograph from the church vestibule. The victims have been offered pastoral care, he said.

"I am extremely sorry for the harm done" to the women, Garland said, urging anyone else with similar complaints to come forward.

LePine died in 2000 at age 82. He worked at the St. Joseph parish from 1957 to 1986. He also served parishes in other Upper Peninsula towns, including Escanaba, Hancock, Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette.


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