Michigan Agency Investigating Former Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
July 5, 2002

A former priest who admitted to sexual activity with young boys more than 40 years ago said he might lose his job with a Michigan social-service agency.

The agency that serves the elderly in the Detroit area is looking into Leo Welch's background.

"We're assessing the situation, and that's about all I can say," said Mike Simowski, executive director of the Senior Alliance in Metro Detroit.

The public, nonprofit agency began an investigation a week ago after The Blade reported that the former priest said he engaged in sex acts with boys at his cottage near Toledo.

Welch said his supervisor immediately called him to talk about the story.

"Obviously, he was surprised," Welch told the newspaper for a recent story. "The agency is embarrassed by this. No one wants someone like me around. Mine were the sins of a young priest."

He said he is taking his vacation days through July 17 and is not sure the agency will allow him to return to his job helping seniors find medical care, housing and food.

Welch, 75, now lives in Inkster, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

Two men have accused Welch of sexually abusing them while he was an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception parish in Bellevue, about 60 miles east of Toledo.


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