Sex Policy Ousts 3 More Clergy
Parishioners Told Sunday of Priests' Fate
By Hawke Fracassa
July 1, 2002
Farmington -- Three more priests connected to the Detroit Archdiocese have felt the heavy hand of the new "no-tolerance" sex abuse policy, and on Sunday, Roman Catholic parishioners in Livonia, Taylor, and North Branch learned of their clergies' fate.
Two priests left their parishes over "credible" sexual allegations, and a third who had served a Taylor parish for 11 years was removed from duty in Phoenix for similar behavior, said Ned McGrath, archdiocese spokesman.
"These stories hurt, they bring shame, but we must move forward ... by being as truthful as we can," McGrath said at a news conference Sunday.
The archdiocese's actions were a swift response to the new policy the nation's bishops established in Dallas in June that bans predatory priests from ministering. McGrath and Monsignor Walter Hurley identified the three as: * The Rev. Edmund Borycz, 61, of St. Michael parish in Livonia. Borycz went on paid administrative leave and retains the title of pastor for now.
Misconduct allegations against him date to "the early years of his ministry," McGrath said. His first appointment was to SS. Peter and Paul in Detroit in 1968. He also served at St. Cyril in Taylor before becoming pastor of St. Michael.
* The Rev. Jude Ellinghausen, 69, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul in North Branch, northeast of Lapeer, and St. Patrick Mission in Clifford, Mich. He retired and became a senior priest June 15, and has been restricted from public ministry. Sexual allegations against him are from his "earlier years," McGrath said. His first appointments were to St. Mark in Warren and St. Paul in Grosse Pointe Farms in 1958; to St. Joseph in Port Huron in 1963; and to St. Timothy in Trenton in 1964.
* The Rev. Robert Wyzgoski, 69, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish in Beverly Hills. He resigned as pastor of Martyrs and has been placed on paid leave. He retired but is now a senior priest banned from public ministry. The archdiocese released a statement Thursday on Wyzgoski's removal.
* The Rev. Neil Emon, 61, was suspended June 2 by the Crosier Order over allegations of improper conduct with minors. He was assistant pastor at St. Alfred in Taylor from 1989 to 2000, when he was transferred to Arizona, where he served weekend Mass at Phoenix-area parishes and was a caregiver and administrator of programs for retired priests at the Crosier Community in Phoenix. David Kostik, spokesman for the Crosier Order, said Emon's suspension means he is now forbidden from leaving the Crosier grounds without being accompanied by a priest.
Sunday's revelations, like others recently, shook parishioners who know the priests, including Joe and Jill Koterba of Highland Township.
The former parishioners of Borycz at SS. Peter and Paul in Detroit tried to attend Sunday's news conference at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, but archdiocese officials asked them to leave. They defended Borycz on the church's steps.
"Father Borycz has been a source of strength and guidance in our lives for 35 years," said Joe Koterba. "He is the godfather of our son. He is not capable of (sex abuse)."
Greg Herman learned about the allegations against Borycz at the 10 a.m. Mass. Herman said another minister read a statement from the removed priest in which he denied the allegations and pledged "eventually the truth will come out."
"It's just sad for the whole Catholic Church," said Herman, 33.
All the priests will continue to collect annual paychecks of $19,000 or more. None lives on Catholic Church-owned property anymore, Hurley said.
Hurley, who spoke with parishioners from the affected churches on Sunday, said that they and church officials were "in great pain over these things that have happened" and that the archdiocese went to great care to ensure "credible allegations" were proven before any action was taken.
Since Jan. 1, at least 20 Catholic priests in Michigan, including at least 12 in the Detroit Archdiocese, have resigned or have been removed from their duties after being accused of sexually abusing minors.
Hurley said the evidence against the priests consists mostly of more than one person making a similar allegation of sexual misconduct. The evidence under review has not included pictures or documents, he said.
"It becomes a judgment call made by reasonable people," said Hurley. "It's when there are a series of complaints of a similar nature that says something has happened here. You look at where all the circumstances point and decide if there is enough evidence to proceed ... for the safety of the children."
The Catholic Church, Hurley said, is exposing improper behavior quickly.
"The days of discretion ... are gone -- and that's the way it is across the country," McGrath said.
Hurley said it would be wrong to characterize these departures as firings. He said priests can not be "fired," but can be ordered not to wear their collars.
McGrath said the departures resulted from violations of the archdiocese's policies and were not hastened by pressure from county prosecutors.
Four more ousted The Archdiocese of Detroit announced Sunday that four more Roman Catholic priests have been relieved of his duties.
* Fr. Robert Wyzgoski: Ordained 1959 Ministries: Associate pastor: St. Benedict, Pontiac, 1959; Our Lady Queen of Peace, Harper Woods, 1961; St. Christopher, Detroit, 1966. Pastor: St. Suzanne, Detroit, 1972; St. Veronica, Eastpointe, 1984; Our Lady Queen of Martys, Beverly Hills, 1996. Resigned and placed on senior priest status: June 24, 2002 * Fr. Edmund Borycz: Ordained 1968 Ministries: Associate pastor, SS. Peter and Paul in Detroit, 1968; director, ministry to the handicapped and part-time pastor, St. Cyril, Taylor, 1973; pastor, St. Cyril, 1975; released to Archdiocese for the Military Services, 1989; pastor, St. Michael, Livonia, 2001. Placed on administrative leave: June 30, 2002.
* Fr. Jude Ellinghausen: Ordained 1958 Ministries: Associate pastor: St. Mark, Warren, 1958; St. Paul, Grosse Pointe Farms, 1958; St. Joseph, Port Huron, 1963; St. Timothy, Trenton, 1964; St. Gerard, Detroit, 1969; Holy Cross, Marine City, 1973; St. Jude, Detroit, 1974; St. Joseph, Port Huron, 1979. Pastor: SS. Peter and Paul, North Branch and St. Patrick Mission, Clifford, 1986. Resigned as pastor, granted senior priest status: June 15, 2002.
* Fr. Neil Emon: Ordained 1967 Ministries: Priest, Crosier Monastery, Hastings, Neb., 1967-74; priest, Crosier Semenary, Onamia, Minn., 1974-80; pastor, St. Peter's, St. Cloud, Minn., 1980-89; assistant pastor, St. Alfred, Taylor, 1989-2000; priest caregiver and administrator, Crosier Community, Phoenix, 2000-02. Suspended: June 2, 2002.
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