Molestation Complaint Filed against Late Detroit Priest

Detroit Free Press
January 25, 2009

HONOLULU — A complaint has been filed against the Catholic Church involving convicted child molester priest Robert Burkholder. Burkholder, who is deceased, was formerly with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The latest complainant, who is listed only as "John Doe," says Burkholder forcibly attempted to assault him in 1984 when he was a minor.

The suit filed in state Circuit Court by attorney David Gierlach alleges that Burkholder's actions led to drug and alcohol abuse, as well as criminal conduct by the victim.

The man is seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees.

Burkholder pleaded no contest in Michigan in 2002 on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct dating to 1986, when he brought a 13-year-old Detroit boy to Hawaii.

"We're always saddened when we hear any of these stories," Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said on Sunday. "Whoever the person is who is making the claim did not call our victim assistance coordinator. We'll proceed accordingly."

McGrath encouraged other victims of abuse at the hands of church officials to call the victim assistance hotline at 866-343-8055.


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