Attorney General Charges Former Shelby Township Priest with Criminal Sexual Conduct
By Kara Szymanski
Shelby - Utica News
June 3, 2019
A priest is charged with engaging in criminal sexual conduct in the 1980s in the rectory of a Shelby Township church with a boy who was between the ages of 12 and 14 at the time.
Neil Kalina, 63, a California resident, faces four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, in Macomb County at the 41-A District Court.
“In the last 30 hours, more than a dozen members of our investigative team have been in courtrooms in Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb and Berrien counties while other members of our team have been working with local law enforcement in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan — all in a carefully executed plan to take these charged defendants off the streets,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a press release.
Kalina, who the Attorney General’s Office said had been a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested May 23 in Littlerock, California.
According to a press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit, Kalina was ordained in 1981 for the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, which is a religious order that operates separately from the Archdiocese of Detroit, and granted faculties in 1984. He was a resident at St. Kieran Parish in Utica from 1984 to 1986 and a weekend assistant at St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights from 1984 to 1986, according to the press release. He left active ministry in 1993, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit.
A complaint sworn to by Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Rick Lutz May 23 states that between 1982 and 1984, a boy who was between the ages of 12 and 14 had spent time with Kalina, who was a pastor at St. Kieran, and on several occasions Kalina provided the boy with alcohol and drugs, including powder cocaine and marijuana, which the boy ingested.
Allegedly, on at least four occasions, the boy spent the night with Kalina in the rectory at the church, and on each occasion, Kalina provided the boy with cocaine or marijuana, which the boy ingested, according to the complaint.
Allegedly, on at least two occasions when the boy was 12, the boy woke up to find Kalina’s hands down the boy’s pants, fondling his genitals, according to the complaint. The complaint further states that on at least two other occasions, when the boy was 13 or 14 years old, he awoke to discover Kalina’s hands down his pants.
The complaint states that Kalina left Michigan in approximately 1985 and moved to California, where he now operates a faith-based service program for at-risk young men. The complaint states that because Kalina has not resided in Michigan since 1986, the charge is within the statute of limitations.
According to Kelly Rossman-McKinney, with the Attorney General’s Office, Kalina will be picked up from the Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles and taken to the Macomb County Jail by June 10.
Four other men who were priests in Michigan were also announced to be facing charges. The attorney general filed an administrative licensing complaint against another priest.
“Almost all of these charges came as a direct result of calls to our tip line, but were then corroborated by files seized from the dioceses last fall, followed by multiple interviews with victims,” Nessel stated in the press release. The other dioceses involved are those for Lansing and Kalamazoo.
Nessel said that although she has charged the men with crimes, they have not been proven to have committed the crimes.
“Although we have charged these men with very serious crimes, I want to remind everyone that they are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law,” Nessel stated.
According to Macomb County Circuit Court records, Kalina was charged in 1985 with delivery or manufacture of cocaine in an amount less than 50 grams. In February 1986, Kalina pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in the amount of 50 grams or less, and the original charge was dismissed, according to the records. Kalina was sentenced to two years of probation with the first six months in the Macomb County Jail, according to the records.
The Archdiocese of Detroit said in its press release that the allegation against Kalina was reported to it in 2017, and the archdiocese turned over the complaint to the Shelby Township Police Department and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. The archdiocese said the allegation was part of material that the Attorney General’s Office took possession of last fall.
“The Archdiocese of Detroit deeply regrets the pain inflicted upon victim-survivors, and offers continued prayers for their peace, healing and pursuit of justice. We continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities, in the hope that these partnerships may pave the way toward a future of greater trust and transparency. One sinful, criminal act, especially against God’s most vulnerable and trusting children, is unacceptable and one suffering soul too many. We remain committed to preventing sexual abuse against anyone — especially children and vulnerable adults,” the archdiocese stated in the press release.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Archdiocese of Detroit said that individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374, mi.gov/clergyabuse or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals may also contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org; calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055; or by emailing email@example.com.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel stated. “This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold all of them accountable — that includes unapologetically pursuing any and all individuals who abuse their power by victimizing our residents.”