BishopAccountability.org

Priest Suspended over Reporting of Teen Sex Case

San Antonio Express-News
February 13, 2012

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Priest-suspended-over-reporting-of-teen-sex-case-3306539.php

This undated photo provided by Macomb County Sheriff via The Macomb Daily shows Michael Lentini. Lentini of Macomb Township, was arraigned Friday on third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and freed on a $20,000 personal bond, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham told The Macomb Daily.

In this photo taken May 24, 2011, Rev. Michael Cooney attends the dedication of a new ladder truck for the Mount Clemens Fire Department in Mount Clemens, Mich. The Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it has temporarily suspended Cooney at Mount Clemens church where a 19-year-old parishioner is accused of criminal sexual conduct involving a 14-year-old girl.

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) The Archdiocese of Detroit has temporarily suspended a priest from a Mount Clemens church where a 19-year-old parishioner is accused of criminal sexual conduct involving a young teenage girl, the archdiocese and law enforcement said Sunday.

The parishioner, Michael Lentini, of Macomb Township, was arraigned Friday on third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and freed on a $20,000 personal bond, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham told The Macomb Daily.

The sheriff said Lentini is accused of having sexual contact with the girl at a social event in December at St. Peter Parish, where Rev. Michael Cooney was pastor. The girl told a counselor at her public school about the incident, and the counselor told the girl's mother.

"My understanding is the mother then went to Father Cooney, and after a time passed she then filed a report with our department," Wickersham said.

The archdiocese said there are no allegations of abuse against Cooney, but it appears he didn't promptly report what he knew to law enforcement as required by church policy. Cooney told the archdiocese of the sheriff's investigation in December.

Bishop Michael Byrnes said the archdiocese is investigating Cooney's response to learning of the complaint from the girl's mother and whether he did an adequate job in making sure his parish was a safe place for children.

"The archdiocese is appalled this could happen and expresses regret and an apology to the young woman who brought this complaint forward," Byrnes told parishioners during services at St. Peter Parish on Saturday and Sunday, according to a statement from the archdiocese.

The Associated Press was unable to reach Cooney for comment. He does not have a listed phone number. Lentini also does not have a listed phone, and it wasn't immediately known if he has a lawyer.




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