Indian River clergyman being investigated by attorney general, state police

Cheboygan Daily Tribune [Cheboygan MI]

December 21, 2021

By Kortny Hahn

The Michigan Attorney General’s office and Michigan State Police are currently investigating a clergyman who is serving as pastor of the Cross in the Woods National Shrine in Indian River.

“At this time, we are only confirming our investigation involving Fr. (Bryan) Medlin,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Press Secretary Lynsey Mukomel in an email. “I have nothing more to add given it’s an active investigation.”

The Michigan Attorney General’s office contacted the Michigan State Police earlier this month, requesting law enforcement investigate the clergyman.

“We are investigating a clergy member that falls under the Diocese of Gaylord,” said Michigan State Police Seventh District Public Information Officer Spl. Lt. Derrick Carroll in an email.

Carroll said the Diocese of Gaylord had contacted the Michigan Attorney General, and then the Michigan State Police were requested to investigate the incident on Dec. 10.

“The investigation continues and there is no further information available,” he said.

According to an announcement made on the Diocese of Gaylord’s website on July 4 of this year, Medlin had been appointed as the pastor of Cross in the Woods beginning Sept. 17, 2021. Prior to his position in Indian River, Medlin had been serving as pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lake Leelanau.

Medlin had also been appointed as the assistant director of vocations for the Diocese of Gaylord in early August.

The Diocese of Gaylord released an official statement on Wednesday regarding the investigation into the clergyman.

The statement reads: “The Diocese of Gaylord became aware some days ago of an apparent violation of diocesan Protocols for Ministry to Minors involving electronic messages sent to a small number of students. The diocese immediately referred the concerns to the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Michigan State Police, who are investigating the matter. Any investigation of the matter by church authorities will be undertaken after the civil investigation concludes.

“This investigation involves Rev. Bryan Medlin, pastor of the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods in Indian River, Michigan. Fr. Medlin has stepped aside from all parish and diocesan responsibilities (i.e., pastor of Cross in the Woods Parish and assistant director of vocations of the Diocese of Gaylord) while this civil investigation is underway. He is not engaging in any ministerial activities at this time, and parish responsibilities are being overseen by Rev. James Gardiner.

“Mackenzie Ritchie, director of communications for the Diocese of Gaylord, said, ‘The safety and security of our students — and all those within our schools and parishes — could not be more important, and we are thankful for the continued work of civil authorities in safeguarding our young people. The diocese continues to fully cooperate with law enforcement and civil authorities and follow their direction. In order to maintain the integrity of the civil investigation that is underway, the diocese will not make any further comments at this time but continues to direct any questions to Michigan State Police or the Michigan Department of Attorney General.’

“The Diocese of Gaylord encourages that any allegation of abuse, harassment, or inappropriate conduct by someone in the church be reported to the Michigan Department of Attorney General at (844) 324- 3374 or to local law enforcement. Reports are also encouraged to be made to church authorities by contacting the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator Larry LaCross at (989) 705-9010.”

Contact Features Writer Kortny Hahn at Follow her on Twitter at @khahnCDT.