Another Priest Steps down
Pastor Denies Claims of Sexual Misconduct

By David Crumm, Jim Schaefer and Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press
July 12, 2002

As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to arise against Catholic priests, the Archdiocese of Detroit said Thursday it has removed the Rev. Alfred Miller, the pastor for 20 years at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Temperance.

Miller, 64, is the 15th metro Detroit priest disciplined since January for alleged sexual misconduct. All but two of the cases involved minors. In the latest case, Miller retired from his parish of about 1,900 households, "because of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with minors," archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath said in a prepared statement.

Miller is temporarily restricted from any public ministry for the church, but his final status depends on the outcome of an investigation, McGrath said.

Msgr. Walter Hurley, the church's point person in handling abuse allegations, said the alleged misconduct occurred in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The claims came from more than one person and involved older male children, Hurley said.

Miller could not be reached for comment, but he is "very adamant about denying the allegations," Hurley said.

Before the current complaint, the church had no reports of misconduct concerning Miller, McGrath said.

Monroe County Prosecutor Michael Weipert said Thursday that he was told last week by Wayne County Prosecutor Michael Duggan that the allegations against Miller involved sexual misconduct in Wayne County.

Miller, 64, has served two parishes in Wayne County. He was co-pastor at St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park from 1972-77 and was the pastor at St. Patrick in Wyandotte from 1977-1981.

The rest of Miller's ministry was in Monroe County. After ordination in 1964, he was an associate pastor at St. Joseph in Erie, then moved to St. Mary in Monroe as an associate pastor in 1970. Around that time, he also worked with Spanish-speaking Catholics in Erie during the summers and was a youth counselor at Monroe Catholic High School. After six months of sick leave in 1981, he moved to Temperance as pastor in 1982 and has worked there for two decades.

Even though the retirement age for priests is 70, Miller's ill health, including a loss of eyesight and difficulty walking, made retirement the best option, McGrath said.

Hurley said he will meet with members of the Mt. Carmel parish soon to answer questions.

Hazel Destatte, a parishioner who works in the church's pastoral ministry program, said Miller told churchgoers at masses last Sunday that he was retiring because of health problems.

"His efforts here speak for him. He did a very good job,' Destatte said. She said the parish grew from about 600 families under Miller's stewardship.


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