Editorial: AG sex abuse report is thorough

The Mining Journal [Marquette MI]

October 29, 2022

If nothing else, it was thorough.

That’s what at least some people are saying about a 100-plus page report released late this week from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel concerning allegations of sexual abuse that took place in the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

The report was released in the interest of the public and to acknowledge the reports of alleged abuse from victims, Nessel’s office said. The document is a compilation of the information obtained from the Department of Attorney General tip line, victim interviews, police investigations, open-source media, paper documents seized from the diocese and electronic documents found on the diocesan computers, and reports of allegations disclosed by the diocese.

Here are the numbers: The list of priests for which there were allegations of sexual misconduct against either children or adults since Jan. 1, 1950, is derived from information gleaned from a search warrant that was executed against the Diocese of Marquette on Oct. 3, 2018. There are 44 priests on this list; 38 were employed or incardinated by the Marquette Diocese.

“The Department of Attorney General is committed to ensuring that every case of sexual abuse and assault is thoroughly reviewed and that whenever we are able to pursue justice we do so relentlessly and aggressively,” Nessel said in a statement. “I specifically want to thank the survivors who have shared their stories, sometimes after decades of silence. Their willingness to come forward helped bring attention to an issue that has affected so many in our state and our country, including children.”

The report contains detailed descriptions of allegations of sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct, including grooming and misuse of authority, against minors and adults, a Mining Journal story in the matter stated. The possible criminal prosecution of many of these allegations is barred by the statute of limitations, or because the accused priest is deceased.

The Catholic Church, which cooperated in the various investigations and in the preparation of the report, has been dealing with this particular mess for years. There are so many victims and so much damage done.

We hope this report provides a degree of closure for those harmed in all of this.