AG: No criminal charges against northern Michigan priest


March 11, 2022

By Roxanne Werly

Otsego County MI – The Michigan Attorney Generals Office will not file criminal charges against a northern Michigan priest accused of sending inappropriate texts to students.

Late last year, the Diocese of Gaylord referred a complaint to the AG’s Office involving a priest sending messages through text and social media to high school students.

The Attorney General’s Office said the priest involved was Bryan Medlin.

After receiving the report, Medlin became the focus of an investigation coordinated between Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Investigators determined Fr. Medlin had been sending several teens and young men, between 16 and 18, messages that contained sexual content and racially insensitive statements through social media and text messages, according to the report.

The messages were sent to high school students at both St. Mary’s in Lake Leelanau and St. Francis High School in Traverse City, said investigators.

“While the allegations against Fr. Medlin did not meet the threshold of criminal behavior beyond a reasonable doubt, we appreciate that the Diocese of Gaylord referred this matter to our office for review,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “We take seriously all reports of sexual abuse and pledge to be a safe haven for victims, to conduct a thorough investigation of available evidence, and to charge individuals, when possible.”

The Diocese of Gaylord will now pursue an internal investigation.

“We are grateful for the thorough investigation by civil authorities into this matter, and we will now continue with a comprehensive investigation within the Church,” stated Mackenzie Ritchie, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Gaylord.

“The messages at the center of this investigation are clearly inappropriate and deeply disturbing, and by no means reflect the true nature of our Catholic values and beliefs, the very foundation of which is love and respect for one another, and the safeguarding of trust,” said Ritchie. “The security and safety of all those within our care, particularly our young people and the most vulnerable, are of the utmost importance and we will continue to promptly address inappropriate behavior and misconduct.”

In a statement, officials with the Diocese of Gaylord said after becoming aware of the messages sent to students, they contacted police and the AG’s office.

During the investigation, Medlin was placed on administrative leave.

The Diocese of Gaylord encourages that any allegation of inappropriate conduct, harassment or abuse 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.