Abuse Complaints "Credible" against Former St. Clair Shores Priest
By Beth Dalbey
March 29, 2016
The former priest, Richard Lauinger, served parishes in Farmington, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores and Detroit.
Sexual abuse allegations against a former Catholic priest who served parishes in Farmington, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores have been “found to be credible” after an internal review of complaints against him, the Archdiocese of Detroit said in a statement Tuesday.
Richard Lauinger, 85, left the priesthood in 1975, the diocese said. He was ordained in 1956.
During his 19 years as a priest, he served as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, and Christ the King and St. Eugene in Detroit; and as co-pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Clair Shores.
Diocese spokesman Ned McGrath told WWJ the complaints were turned over to the Wayne and Oakland county prosecutor’s offices for review. He declined to release details about when the alleged abuse took place, how many allege victims stepped forward or the age of the alleged victims.
Lauinger hasn’t lived in Michigan since 1985, McGrath said.
The Archdiocese of Detroit said in its statement that it places no deadlines or time limits on reporting the sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons, and other church personnel.
In a statement, David Clohessy, director of the St. Louis-based SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — said the announcement was “extraordinarily vague” announcement.
“In an extraordinarily vague and short announcement, Detroit Catholic officials admit that a priest is a credibly accused child molester,” Clohessy said in an email received by Patch. “But they refuse to disclose his whereabouts or aggressively seek out others he has hurt. Shame on them.”
Church officials, he continued, “won’t say whether Lauinger hurt boys or girls, when or where the crimes happened or disclose any real helpful information.”
“They won’t say when church officials first received a report of these crimes or how long it took church officials to substantiate them. They are doing the absolute bare minimum while leaving other kids in harm’s way by being so secretive.”
Clohessy said church officials should disclose more information about the former priest’s whereabouts “so that parents can be warned and families can be protected.”
“We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions — especially in Detroit — to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours,” the statement continued. “This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.”
SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Though “priest” is part of the group’s official name, it serves as a support group for all individuals who were molested by religious leaders of all denominations.
Those who wish to bring forward a complaint and/or to speak to the Victim Assistance Coordinator can call (866) 343-8055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.