Priest Who Died in "04 Now Called a Child Sex Abuser
By Bill Laitner
Detroit Free Press
December 7, 2015
|The Rev. David West|
More than a decade after the death of the popular Roman Catholic priest and pastor known as Father David West, church authorities said an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been “found to be credible” against West, who served in about 20 parishes across southeast Michigan.
The Rev. David West died in 2004 at age 65, well before anyone came forward charging him with sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit.
But church officials “put no time limits on the reporting of sexual abuse of minors” by members of the priesthood or any other personnel connected with churches and related institutions such as parochial schools and seminaries, said Joe Kohn, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
"It doesn't matter when it happens or when it’s reported. We try to determine if it’s credible and, if it is, we notify every place” in which the perpetrator ever served because “that increases the likelihood that this might have occurred elsewhere,” Kohn said.
The goal is to find other victims, if any, and to offer them counseling services, he said, adding: “We do everything in our power to help every victim.” In West's case, the abuse occurred in the 1970s and "the victim was male," Kohn said.
West was ordained in 1964 and served in many high-profile positions, including as church pastor at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods and St. James in Ferndale, St. Louise de Marillac in Warren; and West also was on the faculty of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, a minister at Wayne State University and chaplain at Bishop Gallagher High School in Harper Woods, said a news release from the Archdiocese. He also served as administrator at churches in Temperance, Livonia, Eastpointe, Dearborn Heights and Rockwood. And according to a Free Press report, West was an instructor at St. Mary's College in Orchard Lake when he was chosen, in 1997, to be parish administrator of Detroit's Catholic Church of the Madonna upon the death of its pastor, Father William Cunningham, legendary cofounder of Focus: HOPE.
To report abuse committed by a priest or other person working for the Archdiocese of Detroit, e-mail the victim assistance coordinator at the Archdiocese of Detroit via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-343-8055, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. any day.
Contact Bill Laitner: email@example.com or 313-223-4485.