Bishop Hurley Talks about Abusive Priest

By Patrick Center
December 12, 2006

Grand Rapids - More than 10,500 people nationwide have come forward with stories of being sexually assaulted by priests.

Fr. Michael McKenna was ordained in 1973, but Monday the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids permanently removed him from the ministry after substantiated claims of sexual abuse with at least one minor.

24 Hour News 8 talked with the diocese's Bishop Walter Hurley about McKenna. He said the civil authorities were notified in 2003 about the situation.

"The victims were offered assistance," Bishop Hurley said, "and at this point the parishes have been notified and other victims have been invited to come forward if there are any."

He said there "have been several" victims, but declined to give an exact number. "I think some people have a right to privacy in all of this." When pressed about how many victims there might be, he said it's not embarrassing, simply it's "not something I should provide you with at this point."

24 Hour News 8 asked the bishop about McKenna's frequent transfers from parish to parish, and wondered if his transfers were related to any previous knowledge of sexual abuse, as a source told us.

The bishop said McKenna's transfers had everything to do with the church and nothing to do with any allegations.

"Well, the only thing that I can tell you is that individual should come to us and let us know that, because we did not know that and I have personally reviewed the file." Bishop Hurley continued, "Fr. McKenna has been ill over a number of years and if that individual has information, then they should let us know that. We are not aware of that, or I am not aware of that."


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