DCI won’t share results of priest abuse investigation due to statute of limitations

By Arielle Zionts
Rapid City Journal
February 06, 2021

The Division of Criminal Investigation won’t share the scope or results of its investigation into a Rapid City priest accused of child sexual abuse because any crime that might have happened can no longer be charged in court.

“While the investigation is not closed it is at a point where due to the statute of limitations there is nothing chargeable,” said Tim Bormann, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office. “Should any new information or allegations be forthcoming that evidence would then be examined.”

Bormann declined to share the nature of the allegations and the results and scope of the investigation into Father Michel Mulloy, a priest who was set to become Bishop of Duluth.

“The statute of limitations places this matter into a category where it cannot be brought into a court of law, similarly it would not be proper to release any details that would conversely be considered in the court of public opinion,” he said.

“As this is an ongoing investigation in that manner there will be no further comments made on the issue,” Bormann added about the investigation he previously referred to as “concluded” in an email to the Journal.

Mulloy is accused of sexually abusing a child in Faith in the early 1980s, according to Michele Bordewyk, Meade County state’s attorney. He worked at the Faith parish from 1983 to 1989, according to a June 2020 news release from the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

The Diocese of Rapid City is still investigating the case and Mulloy remains on administrative leave and he’s not allowed to engage in ministry, according to Teresa Spiess, secretary to Bishop Peter Muhich.

Spiess also declined to share more details about the allegation.

Bordewyk told the Journal that the Diocese contacted her about the allegation and she referred the case to DCI. Bordewyk is able to make a charging decision but said Wednesday that DCI hasn't shared any information with her. 

Matthew Schackow, chief of the Faith Police Department, said Wednesday that he heard from a DCI investigator last month but hasn't been told about the allegation.

Charges can be brought any time against someone accused of raping someone under the age of 13 or raping someone through force, coercion or threats.

But people can only be charged with the following crimes if the victim reports it within seven years of the crime or before they turn 25:

  • Making sexual contact with a minor;
  • Raping someone who is unable to give consent due to physical or mental incapacity or because they're intoxicated;
  • Raping someone between 13-16 when the perpetrator is at least three years older than the victim.

Mulloy, a 67-year-old from Mobridge, was ordained in the Diocese of Sioux Falls in 1979 before becoming a priest in the Diocese of Rapid City, according to the July 2020 edition of West River Catholic.

He’s held multiple leadership positions, including serving as the leader of the diocese between July 2019 when Bishop Robert Gruss was reassigned to Saginaw, Michigan, to July 2020 when Muhich was installed.

Pope Francis appointed Mulloy to serve as the Bishop in Duluth on June 19, 2020, and the Diocese received the allegation on August 7, according to a September news release from the Diocese. The Diocese said this is the only allegation it has ever received against Mulloy.

After receiving the allegation, Muhich contacted law enforcement and told Mulloy he couldn’t engage in ministry, according to a statement from the diocese.

The diocese also commissioned an internal investigation to determine if the allegation warranted further investigation under Canon Law. The investigation concluded that the allegation did deserve further review. 

The results of the internal invention were shared with the Rapid City Diocesan Review board, a lay-majority group, which agreed with the investigation's conclusions. Muhich then informed the Vatican about the finding that the investigation should continue.

Mulloy submitted his resignation as Bishop-elect of Duluth to Pope Francis after the diocese gave him a summary of the specific allegation against him.

The Diocese of Duluth announced in early September, 2020 that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Mulloy, who was set to be installed on Oct. 1, 2020.

Mulloy is the third Rapid City-based priest to be accused or convicted of child sexual abuse since 2018.

Father John Praveen was sentenced in 2019 to six years in prison after admitting he touched a 13-year-old girl’s breasts inside the Rapid City cathedral in fall of 2018. He was defrocked by Pope Francis in March 2020 and is eligible for parole in August 2021.

Father Marcin Garbacz, who is serving prison time for stealing nearly $260,000 from the diocese, is now charged with possessing child pornography and having sexual contact with a minor in another country. Garbacz has served as a parish priest as well as a chaplain and teacher for the Rapid City Catholic Schools System.




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