Group Claims Defrocked Priest Working at Metro Churches

By Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
January 27, 2011

A group representing people abused by priests delivered a letter Thursday to Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron demanding to know how a defrocked priest accused of molesting children in Ohio was allowed to work at local Catholic churches.

Two local representatives from the national organization SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, stood outside the offices of the Archdiocese of Detroit today to voice their concern about Herbert Richey, a priest banned from the ministry in 1997 by Ohio church officials after allegations that he molested several children at parishes in several Ohio cities.

Matt Jatczak, a Detroit area representative of SNAP, delivered a two-page letter to the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Detroit on Washington Boulevard addressed to Vigneron.

Jatczak said 60-year-old Richey has been working as an organist at local churches as recently as a couple of years ago. He said his group suspects the Richey is still working at some area Catholic churches.

"We want to know who hired him," Jatczak said Thursday outside the Chancery. "Why is he still here? It is very irresponsible since the Catholic Church said it was going to clean up its act."

Jatczak said Richey was working as an organist at local parishes as late as 2008.

Archdiocese of Detroit officials released a statement Thursday saying Richey did serve "recently" as an organist at St. Margaret of Scotland in St. Clair Shores and possibly at other parish locations during the past 10 years but was immediately terminated when it was discovered that he was working at St. Joseph Catholic church in Trenton in 2002.

"Mr. Richey was immediately removed and ordered by the Detroit archdiocese not to work in any of its parishes or schools," said Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Ned McGrath. "The Archdiocesan Review Board will commence an investigation of this matter with the intention of assuring this unacceptable situation does not happen again."

McGrath's release added that Richey although Richey never served as a priest in the Detroit archdiocese, his name has been added to the Priest and Policy Status Report available at

Efforts to reach Richey were not successful. or (313) 222-2027


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