Detroit Free Press, by Niraj Warikoo: As part of the state’s investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday criminal sexual conduct charges against five priests in Michigan.
“Some of these clergy … preyed on young children,” Nessel said at a news conference about the men who were priests at the time of the alleged abuse. She said the five cases were the “tip of the iceberg” as investigators continue to track down hundreds of tips on abuse by Catholic priests.
In some of the incidents, the priests mixed their sexual activity with references to Catholic beliefs or committed the acts during Catholic rituals such as confession, according to allegations in affidavits.
In other cases, the priests plied children with drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and alcohol before sexually assaulting them, allege prosecutors and police. In one case, a priest is accused of threatening to kill his victim if the boy reported the abuse.
Deputy Solicitor General Ann Sherman, who is helping with the investigations, said that some Catholic Church officials have alarming views on sexual abuse of children.
“I am deeply disturbed by what we have discovered,” Sherman said at the news conference. “I’m also disturbed by some attitudes of some of the hierarchy in the church … who demonstrated a serious misunderstanding of sexual assault.”
In one case, a priest “explained that this child victim needed to simply admit that he teased, enticed, or gave permission for the abuse to occur,” Sherman said. “This attitude is horrific. Sexual abuse is never the fault of the victim and it certainly can never be that sexual abuse of a child is a child’s fault.”
In a statement on Nessel’s news conference, the Archdiocese of Detroit said it “deeply regrets the pain inflicted upon victim-survivors, and offers continued prayers for their peace, healing and pursuit of justice. We continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities, in the hope that these partnerships may pave the way toward a future of greater trust and transparency. We remain committed to preventing sexual abuse against anyone — especially children and vulnerable adults.”
Nessel cautioned that the men charged are “innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.”
“We will continue to investigate each and every tip that we receive,” Nessel said.
Nessel said her office is reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and have received 450 tips. She said they have reviewed so far only about 5 to 10 percent of the information they have received.
Former Attorney General Bill Schuette conducted raids in October at Catholic dioceses across Michigan that involved 70 police officers and 14 assistant attorney generals.
In February, Nessel accused Catholic Church leaders of not fully cooperating with law enforcement, telling them to stop “self-policing” and allow state investigators to probe sexual abuse by clergy.
Catholic officials in Michigan say they are cooperating.
Michigan is one of several states that launched investigations after a report released last year by the Pennsylvania Attorney General showed extensive abuse by priests and cover-ups by Catholic leaders.
Sherman, the Deputy Solicitor General working on the investigations, said that as a Catholic herself, leaders in the “church hierarchy who have covered up sexual abuse do not represent my faith or my religion.”
Sherman said the alleged abusers “acted to harm the people of the state, the people I serve.”
These abuse scandals by Catholic priests are shocking and horrifying. The Roman Catholic Church’s “dirty laundry” is being exposed, thus fulfilling the description of her filthiness found in Revelation 17.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4-5