Diocese of Lansing apologizes for mishandled 1990 sexual abuse case

By Justine Lofton
Lansing State Journal
October 21, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing in downtown Lansing on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
Photo by Joel Bissell

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing failed to investigate allegations of a priest sexually assaulting a man during a boxing training camp in 1990, a new report shows.

Nearly 30 years later, the diocese has apologized to the victim, The Associated Press reports. The priest in the case was stripped of his priestly faculties in 2018 after an investigation into a similar case that occurred in 2014.

Roman Catholic Diocese hired law firm Honigman LLP to investigate the 1990 case, The AP reports. The firm’s report released Thursday, Oct. 17, determined the case was mishandled.

The victim sent a letter in 1990 to the Rev. Patrick Egan that said Egan sexually assaulted him the year before, when he was 25 years old, The AP reports. The diocese learned of the accusation in early 1990s but didn’t investigate because the victim was not a minor when the alleged assault occurred.

“I am deeply sorry for the Diocese’s past failure and all should know that the allegation would have been handled differently today,” Bishop Earl Boyea said in a statement. Boyea also said he personally apologized to the victim.

Egan was again accused of sexual assault during boxing sessions in 2014. That case led the diocese to revoke Egan’s priestly faculties and extern status last year, the AP reports. At the time, Egan was assigned to Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor Township.

Diocese of Lansing spokesman David Kerr condemned Egan, saying he “disgraced the holy priesthood and betrayed the trust placed in him.”

Kerr also suggested that current procedures and policies related to sexual assault allegations could be improved by a more independent and transparent process overseen by a lay-led review board.

Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy across the state is under investigation by the Michigan attorney general’s office.

In September, the Diocese of Lansing released the names of 17 priests it says have been “credibly accused of abusing a minor" since the diocese was founded in 1937. The list was published on the diocesan website,

In February, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would continue the investigation then-attorney general Bill Schuette started in 2018 into Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse spanning more than a half-century in Michigan. At that point, Nessel’s office had more than 300 tips of alleged sexual misconduct in the state’s seven Catholic dioceses since the investigation began and she estimated upwards of 1,000 sex-abuse victims could be uncovered.

Then in May, Nessel announced criminal sexual conduct charges against five men who were priests in Michigan. By then, more tips had come in and members of the attorney general’s clergy abuse investigative team were working to review 450 tips and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents seized in simultaneous raids on Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses in 2018.



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