Clergy abuse investigation reaches two-year mark

The Mining Journal

October 22, 2020

Lansing – Millions of documents have been reviewed and 11 men have been or are being prosecuted by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office since authorities executed search warrants two years ago on all seven of Michigan’s Catholic dioceses as part of the state’s investigation into clergy abuse.

According to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, 42 Michigan State Police troopers, five officers from other law enforcement agencies and 15 special agents from the Attorney General’s office executed search warrants on Oct. 3, 2018, at Michigan’s seven dioceses. In that effort, they seized 220 boxes of paper documents and more than 3.5 million digital documents.

Due to a slowdown in court operations as a result of COVID-19, no charged cases have been resolved through plea deals or trial since late 2019. However, the review of documents has continued along with other steps to further the investigation. To date, the department has:

• Completed the paper document review of the Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Marquette dioceses. Of the 220 boxes of paper documents seized, about 78 boxes remain;

• Completed the electronic document review of the Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Marquette dioceses;

• Hired and trained a full-time victim advocate to support the hundreds of victims identified in the course of the investigation;

• Continued to refer the completed criminal investigations back to the respective dioceses; and

• Followed up with victims who have not been interviewed with a trauma-informed interviewer, including those whose cases are barred by the statute of limitations, where the accused priest has died or any other reason that makes criminal prosecution impossible.

Through the department’s review of paper documents alone, 454 accused priests and 811 reported victims have been identified. That number may change as investigatory efforts continue.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.