Top priest at Orchard Lake St. Mary's sued for sexual harassment
By John Wisely
Detroit Free Press
December 14, 2020
|The Rev. Miroslaw Krol, chancellor of Orchard Lake Schools, is pictured in 2008 when he was 37 and Dean of Human Formation at SS Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake.|
The Rev. Miroslaw Krol, the top priest at Orchard Lake Schools, was sued in federal court Monday for sexual harassment by former subordinates who claim he pressured them for sex.
Two men, one a priest and the other a former lay staffer, claim that Krol recruited them to Orchard Lake in 2018, then preyed on them, groping them, kissing them and trying to have sex with them. When they rebuffed his advances, he retaliated against them, the suit claims.
"Krol recruited plaintiffs to move to Michigan to work for Orchard Lake Schools, he was repeating a grooming tactic he had used before," the suit claims. "After the plaintiffs arrived ... they both soon realized that Krol had recruited them not because of their potential to serve OLS, but for their potential to serve Krol sexually."
The men are listed in the suit as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
Krol, the chancellor of Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory High School and SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary, did not respond to a request for comment from the Free Press. Both institutions share a campus on the banks of Orchard Lake in Oakland County.
"Father Krol denies all allegations of misconduct in their entirety, and looks forward to being vindicated," Roy Henley, an East Lansing attorney, said in a statement to the Free Press. "He has no other comment at this time."
The school said in a statement that Krol is on administrative leave.
“In our judgment, these former employees of the Orchard Lake Schools who are asserting these claims while simultaneously seeking to remain anonymous have mischaracterized the circumstances surrounding their terminations," Steve Gross, chairman of the school's board of regents, said in a statement. "It is important to note all individuals named in the lawsuit are adults. These former employees bringing this employment action did not work with any minors, nor did their roles involve the high school on our campus. We are confident that the facts, in this case, will prevail, that the legal process will determine their claims lack merit, and that we acted appropriately at all times."
The suit also claims that a former member of the board of regents, who is not named, resigned last year.
"She resigned because of several things related to Fr. Krol, including allegations of sexual impropriety," said Jennifer Salvatore, an attorney who represents the two men.
The suit claims that the former regent tried to report the allegations to the Archdiocese of Detroit.
"The board member was told essentially that Archbishop Vigneron was not interested in discussing these issues with her unless she had first-hand knowledge of the misconduct," the suit claims.
SS. Cyril & Methodist Seminary is a private institution. Because it is located within the archdiocese, Vigneron has a seat on its board, but he does not oversee or operate the school, said Ned McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese. Krol is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, McGrath said.
“As it relates to the federal lawsuit filed against the seminary, the Detroit Archdiocese takes such complaints seriously and will look into them as vigorously as it is able," McGrath said.
The suit also claims one of the men met with investigators from the Michigan Attorney General's Office, which has an ongoing investigation into clergy sexual abuse.
“Our clergy abuse investigation team continues to work on a variety of cases," said Ryan Jarvi, a spokesman for Attorney General Dana Nessel. "We do not confirm or deny any specific individual investigation unless or until charges have been filed.”
The suit claims that Krol studied as a student at Orchard Lake in the 1990s, before finishing his education at Immaculate Conception Seminary in New Jersey. There, Krol studied under former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked after credible allegations surfaced that he abused both minors and adults over several decades.
A report issued last month by the Vatican found that McCarrick was known to bring young men, including seminarians, to a beach house where he would groom them for sex.
"It is in this environment that defendant Krol completed his religious training and spent much of his early years as a priest in Newark — where McCarrick was Archbishop," the suit claims. "Indeed, Krol was ordained by McCarrick and, upon information and belief, witnessed in him many of the grooming tactics that Fr. Krol would later employ at OLS."
The suit claims that during a previous stint at Orchard Lake from 2006 through 2011, Krol would recruit seminarians from Poland to come to Orchard Lake. He would invite them to parties at the rectory at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church in Detroit, where he would have sex with them.
"At least one young seminarian recruited from Poland during this time period is reported to have confided in both a local priest and in a bishop in New Jersey that the sexual activity involving Krol at these parties was not always consensual," the suit claims.
The suit claims one of the plaintiffs was pressured to drive Krol and another priest who was visiting from Chicago to a bar and to stop on the way back at a motel.
"At the motel, a male sex worker, who Krol had apparently contacted through the internet, was waiting," the suit claims. "It was apparent to John Doe 1 that the sex worker knew Father Krol. John Doe 1 remained in the car while the other priests went into the motel. At one point, the priests asked John Doe 1 to retrieve cash from an ATM, which John Doe 1 concluded was used to pay the sex worker."
Krol was able to get away with his misconduct, the suit claims, because he was well connected in the Polish Catholic community and a solid fundraiser for the school. He also had friends in high places, including the Vatican.
"As a result of his influence, the OLS Board of Regents has had blinders on to Krol’s ongoing misconduct —blinders that have allowed Krol to use his position at OLS to recruit and then to sexually harass and abuse many young men around him," the suit claims.