Vatican Defrocks One Detroit Priest, Disciplines Eight

Associated Press State & Local Wire [Detroit]
May 27, 2005

The Vatican has defrocked a priest who served in several parishes in metropolitan Detroit and has barred eight others from the ministry, the Archdiocese of Detroit says.

The nine priests have been on leave since allegations of sexual abuse surfaced, said Auxiliary Bishop Walter Hurley.

"The final decision ... basically confirms the original decisions made by the cardinal," said Hurley, who is Cardinal Adam Maida's delegate on issues of clergy misconduct. The archdiocese is awaiting Vatican review of 14 other cases, including four priests who requested church trials, the Detroit Free Press said Friday.

The Vatican defrocked, or "laicized," Robert Quane, 60, who served at nine parishes in the Detroit area, including St. Francis of Assisi in New Haven, St. Raymond in Detroit and St. Ronald in Macomb County's Clinton Township.

In 2000, Quane began serving on a restricted basis with the archdiocese after what it said was a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with minors early in his ministry.

Quane was allowed to serve as a part-time chaplain in Henry Ford Hospital and substitute in parishes when needed.

But in 2002, the archdiocese said "it became clear that it would be wise to further restrict Father Quane's service as priest."

Quane was then placed on administrative leave and restricted from any public ministry.

"From the standpoint of a victim, the damage is already done," Ned Moon, 55, of Milford, who is active in the Detroit chapter of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, told The Detroit News. "The church shielded these perverted men for years and years. And even though they may be defrocked, that doesn't mean there is full closure on any of this."

The eight priests permanently removed from their pastoral duties will be allowed to celebrate Mass in private by themselves, although they are prohibited from publicly presenting themselves as priests.

The other eight priests are Robert N. Burkholder, 85; Michael J. Daly, 56; Jude T. Ellinghausen, 72; Joseph P. Femminineo, 75; Robert W. Haener, 73; Walter J. Lezuchowski, 72; Peter J. VanderLinden, 76; and Robert F. Wyzgoski, 72.

Burkholder spent 30 days in jail in 2002 for two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for events in the 1980s.

The archdiocese said last year that 63 priests and deacons sexually abused 116 mostly male victims from 1950 to February 2004. The archdiocese paid about $1.4 million in settlements and counseling for the victims.


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