By Slawomir Sierakowski
Mr. Sierakowski is the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy.
By Darcie Moran | firstname.lastname@example.org
ANN ARBOR, MI - A former Ann Arbor and Jackson priest is behind bars, accused of sexually assaulting a minor boy for years nearly three decades ago.
Timothy M. Crowley, 69, was arrested on the morning of Thursday, May 23, in Tempe, Arizona, Maricopa County jail records show. On Friday, he was named among five Michigan Catholic priests accused of criminal sexual conduct.
“Much healing” has taken place in the parish since Crowley was removed in 1993, the Rev. Bill Ashbaugh, current pastor of the church, said in an email Friday. Ashbaugh, who declined to speak outside of emails, said he arrived in 1994 to join a new pastor to “bring healing and stability to St. Thomas” after Crowley’s departure.
“When Fr Crowley (sic) was initially removed, the community as you can imagine was very upset,” he said. “I am sure at the time, there was a great deal of confusion. The abuse did occur in the rectory from my understanding.”
Crowley was the sole priest at St. Thomas from 1990-93, Ashbaugh said.
Crowley, who was ordained in 1976, served as a parochial vicar in Brighton, Flint and at Jackson’s St. Mary, Star of the Sea, according to a Catholic Diocese of Lansing news release.
He served in Jackson from 1982-84, according to an affidavit filed in his criminal case. There, a boy of about 10 years old was an altar boy. Crowley is accused of giving him cigarettes and alcohol and touching his buttocks and genitalia over his clothing, according to court records.
Crowley went on to serve as a pastor at St. Anthony’s in Hillsdale and St. Thomas in Ann Arbor, according to the diocese.
Investigators accuse Crowley of repeatedly giving the boy cigarettes and alcohol, and forcing him to watch homosexual pornography while Crowley masturbated. They also accuse him of using the child's hand to masturbate, forcing fellatio on the child, molesting him and threatening to kill him if he told nuns or his parents of the abuse.
Investigators also accuse Crowley of having the boy stay the night in the rectory.
"Crowley has admitted that JOHN DOE 'stayed over' with him," an investigator said in the affidavit.
In 1993, the Catholic Diocese of Lansing paid the victim $200,000 in an out-of-court settlement, past news reports show. According to the affidavit in the criminal case, it included a non-disclosure agreement.
Though the diocese states Crowley was removed from St. Thomas in 1993, Ann Arbor News reports from the early 2000s show Crowley said he “resigned for personal reasons.” In 1995, he joined the Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage in Alaska.
According to past news reports, the archbishop in Anchorage who approved the transfer, Archbishop Francis T. Hurley, told an Anchorage reporter the Lansing diocese informed him that Crowley committed sexual misconduct and had received treatment in a two-year rehabilitation program.
“I received from them a very positive report on his ability to control his life,” Hurley, who has since died, said, according to the report.
The transfer occurred despite warnings from the Lansing diocese, according to their release.
During his time in Anchorage, in the early 2000s, the allegations came under scrutiny.
Police reports obtained at that time showed the victim, a then-30-year-old police officer, made a number of allegations of childhood abuse, including that Crowley attempted to hold him down to be raped by another priest, according to a 2003 report in The Flint Journal.
Prosecutors dropped their case at the request of the victim, past news reports show.
Crowley told The Ann Arbor News in 2003 that he had retired.
He was defrocked in 2015, according to the diocese. They welcomed the charges against him Friday, with Bishop Earl Boyea stating in a press release that he prays for healing for everyone involved.
"I welcome today's action so that the truth can come out and justice may be served," he said. "Any priest who commits reprehensible acts against children does grave harm to victims. He betrays the priesthood and the entire Church."
And don't forget God. He always seems to be left out of these kind of statements. God is Whom he sinned against, and before Whom he will stand in judgment.
Crowley appears to have been living in a continuing care retirement community in Arizona. It was not immediately clear when he would be extradited to face his criminal case in Ann Arbor.
A representative for the Attorney General's office said the statute of limitations had passed in other counties. The statute of limitations remains in place for the Washtenaw County case, because Crowley moved out of state, according to the affidavit filed.
Crowley faces four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for incidents between 1986 and 1990 at St. Thomas, at 530 Elizabeth St.
He faces up to life in prison on the first-degree charges and up to 15 years in prison on the second-degree charges.
child sex abuse investigation
"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."
Nessel urged people who are victims or may have information about abuse to contact them. She was joined by several attorneys on her staff pursuing justice for victims and also an abuse victim, Andy Russell, who urged victims to come forward.
"We are your voice," Nessel said. "We are here for you."
The five Catholic priests charged are:
► Timothy Michael Crowley, (See story immediately above for more on this creep)
► Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Macomb County with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. Kalina, who was a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.
"On at least two occasions, when John Doe was twelve years old, John Doe woke up to discover Kalina with his hands down John Doe's pants, fondling his genitals," said the affidavit.
The incidents happened again when the boy was 13 or 14, according to the allegations.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Detroit said that Kalina "was ordained in 1981 for the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), which is a religious order that operates separately from the Archdiocese of Detroit. He left active ministry in 1993."
"The allegation against him was brought to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2017," said the Archdiocese of Detroit. "Per our agreement with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, we turned over the complaint to the Shelby Township Police Department. In addition, we turned over the complaint to the PIME religious order."
► Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. DeLorenzo was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton and was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.
"In 2002, DeLorenzo admitted to sexually abusing a minor boy in the 1980's," said the affidavit. "The Catholic Church placed him on restricted ministry, but still allowed him to remain within the Catholic Church."
In a statement, the Diocese of Lansing said it received a complaint in 2002 against DeLorenzo of sexual abuse involving a minor. The bishop then removed him from ministry and reported the complaint to the Genesee County prosecutor.
"The diocese has requested that Rev. DeLorenzo be laicized (defrocked) and is awaiting a decision from Rome," said the Diocese of Lansing.
Since 2002, there have been eight complaints made against DeLorenzo, said the diocese. The diocese said it forwarded May 2018 allegation to the county prosecutors and Burton police, and a Jan. 2019 allegation to the state Attorney General.
► Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Wayne County with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct. Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was arrested Thursday in Oak Park. He also has served in Canton.
One day in 2013 during confession, "Casey approached John Doe and told him to stand up. Casey then began massaging John Doe's genitalia before performing oral sex on him," said an affidavit.
The two talked about their struggles being gay and having suicidal thoughts at times.
"As John Doe spoke about his struggles with suicide and his concern about dying in mortal sin, Casey, who was dressed in black clerical garb, steered the conversation toward sex, telling him that he could not have a gay relationship and go to heaven," said the affidavit. "Casey told John Doe that he was also gay and shared a suicidal story of his own."
In a statement released after the charges were announced, the Archdiocese of Detroit said the allegation against Casey "was brought to the Archdiocese in 2015. The complainant was an adult at the time of the alleged incident. We removed Casey from ministry at that time and entered into the canonical process appropriate for this allegation. That process remains ongoing and is pending in Rome."
Casey is currently restricted from representing himself as a priest, said the Archdiocese.
► Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese, was charged with two counts of rape, which has a maximum sentence of life in prison. Vellian was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Benton Harbor, and now lives in Kerala, India.
According to an affaidavit, Vellian penetrated with a finger a girl under the age of 16 in the 1970s. During one incident, said the affidavit, Vellian touched the girl's "breasts underneath her bra and clothing, explained that he was praying for her, and was 'trying to fill [her] soul with the Holy Spirit.'"
Is there no fear of God in these people?!!!
The affidavit says Vellian fondled and penetrated the girl's vagina several times before she was 16.
In a statement on the allegations against Vellian, the Diocese of Kalamazoo said it "learned today that a former visiting priest from the Archeparchy of Kottayam, India, of the Syro-Malabar Church, who served in the diocese in the early 1970s for one year, was charged by the Michigan Attorney General. We have fully cooperated with this ongoing investigation and will continue to do so."
In addition to the charging of five priests, state officials suspended last week the professional educationally limited counselor’s license of Lawrence Ventline, a priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit, and the Attorney General has filed an administrative licensing complaint against him, said Nessel.
An abuse allegation was made against Ventline, but he has not been charged.
In an emailed statement, Ventline said a "false claim" was made against him by a "demanding" anonymous person. He said police dismissed the case against him two years ago and notes that he was not charged.
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."
By Anlleyn Venegas, Fabiola Berriozábal and Brenda Gregorio-Nieto
Two more women have come forward and claimed to be victims of child sexual abuse by a priest at the St. Jude's Shrine of the West church in Southcrest.
For decades, families have nurtured their faith in the parish whose masses were also visited by St. Teresa of Calcutta and Luis Donaldo Colosio. But recently it has become a symbol of indignation for many.
Kathy Ray grew up in this community, just blocks from St. Jude's. She said that when she was little her mother would take her with priest Gregory Sheridan to help him perform daily chores as penance. Ray recounts that she ended up in his room, sitting on his legs.
She is one of four alleged victims of child sexual abuse by the same priest who was sent to this parish in 1954.
Auggie Bareño said that, as well as the customs, the area has been transformed over time but the memory of Father Sheridan, remains fresh in her memory.
"There was a cantina down that street, we would see him drinking with two women, hugging them, and he would look at us in a way saying ‘who will believe you,’" said Bareño.
A statement released from the Diocese of San Diego acknowledged that Monsignor Gregory Sheridan has been included on a public list as a credibly accused priest of the San Diego diocese since 2007. He retired in 1983 and died in 1991.
The statement reads:
“We would encourage anyone who considers themselves a victim-survivor of Monsignor Gregory Sheridan to make sure their abuse has been reported to law enforcement and to contact us if they desire counseling at no cost to them. Later this summer, if they haven’t already filed a claim against the diocese, we would encourage them to file a claim with the Independent Victim Compensation Program, which can arrange for monetary compensation if they qualify.”
By Antonia Mortensen, CNN
"You touched me where you were not supposed to, my private parts," Misiewicz says, matter-of-factly, telling him that his actions "really scarred my adult life deeply."
"I still have nightmares ... I am unable to sleep at night," she tells her alleged abuser. "I still carry it inside me."
The elderly man she is addressing exhales and shifts in his orange and brown striped chair, as a religious service plays out on a TV nearby, in a home for retired priests in Kielce, central Poland.
The priest, identified only as Father Jan A., has never been charged with abuse. He pauses briefly, before saying: "I should never have done it, I should not have touched or kissed you ... I know I shouldn't have."
"I regret it profoundly," he says, insisting that he has reformed in the three decades since the alleged episode detailed by Misiewicz. "It was the devil who took his toll."
The pair's troubling meeting was captured on secretly filmed footage that is at the heart of "Tell No One," a new documentary that has sent shockwaves through the Polish Catholic Church and wider society in the deeply religious nation.
Since its release on YouTube on May 11 the film, which details decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Poland and shows victims confronting their alleged abusers, has been viewed more than 20 million times.
'Erosion' of Catholic Church
The Catholic Church -- and its priests -- enjoys a revered status and wields serious influence in Poland, where more than 90% of the country's population is registered as Catholic.
The Church has long held powerful ties to politics; together with the late Polish Pope John Paul II, it is widely hailed for its opposition to the Communist regime that collapsed in 1989.
Marcin Zaborowski, political analyst at Visegrad Insight, told CNN the Catholic Church has been "fundamental" to Polish society. "The Church is part and parcel of Polish politics," he said.
"The current government will find it difficult to distance itself from the Catholic Church," Zaborowski added. Only a week before the film was released, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative ruling Law and Justice Party, said: "Anyone who raises his hand against the church, wants to destroy it, raises his hand against Poland." After seeing the documentary, he clarified his remarks at a rally, saying: "That does not mean that we support or tolerate pathology in the Church."
But Zaborowski said the film "could be a game changer," adding that it had "started the erosion of the position of the Catholic Church in Poland."
The case that's created the biggest outcry since the film's publication is that of Father Franciszek Cybula, the priest of Lech Walesa, leader of anti-Communist movement Solidarity in the 1980s.
Confronted on the doorstep of a small, white house in Gowidlino, a village in northern Poland, Cybula is accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy, decades earlier. Cybula, who is unaware he is being filmed, admits he touched the boy in a sexual manner, but tries to downplay his actions.
"There was a moment of caressing and then we went back to our daily business," he says, arguing that "it never exceeded any inappropriateness," and suggesting that the pair had "fondled" each other mutually. Cybula died before the documentary finished production.
Poland's Prosecutor General has issued an investigation into the alleged crimes detailed in the film.
"Tell no one" director Tomasz Sekielski told CNN he felt compelled to bring the sexual abuse to public attention after meeting several victims during his career as a journalist. "The horror of their stories stayed with me and I knew that I wanted to do something more on the subject; that's why my brother and I decided to make the film."
Taboo subject in Poland
It was difficult to find traditional investors willing to back the film because of its polarizing subject, Sekielski said. Ultimately, he and his brother raised more than $100,000 to shoot the documentary via crowdfunding websites.
Sekielski says the response to it has far exceeded their expectations: "This film has been like a shock to Polish society and has managed to create real social awareness of a subject that has been very taboo in Poland."
Sekielski says he does not know if Pope Francis has seen the film, which is available online with Spanish and English subtitles.
When CNN asked the Vatican if they had a comment on the film, they said they "would look into it."
In response to the film, the Vatican's ambassador to Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, told CNN: "The Pope is very concerned, and we express sympathy and solidarity."
Solidarity - just seems like an odd term to use in the case.
The Vatican has announced plans to send Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's top sex crimes investigator, to Poland on June 13 to host a "study day" on abuse for Polish bishops on how to protect minors from abuse within the Church.
OMG! A whole day! Wow! Are you sure Bishop Scicluna can spare the time?
Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, said he had been "deeply moved and saddened" by the film.
"On behalf of the entire Bishops' Conference, I would like all the victims to accept my sincere apologies; I realize that nothing can compensate them for the harm they have suffered," he said in a statement, adding that the film would "definitely contribute to an even more severe condemnation of pedophilia, for which there can be no place in the Church."
Following the film's release, the Polish government proposed raising the maximum prison sentence for convicted pedophiles to 30 years.
But that's insufficient, says Polish foundation "Have No Fear," which helps victims of child abuse committed by the Catholic Church. The organization worked with the Sekielski brothers, helping to find victims who were willing to participate in the film.
Anna Frankowska, a board member of the organization, told CNN it had been "completely overwhelmed" by the reaction to the film: "It has generated a tsunami of calls from new victims to our charity."
Since the film's release more than 100 new cases have come to light, according to the charity. "On one hand it is wonderful, but on the other it is overwhelming as we do not have the resources to process all the cases," said Frankowska.
"The government increase in jail time is not an effective tool," she said, arguing that "it is more symbolic than anything, the courts need to actually start implementing these harsh sentences."
'Gesture gave me huge hope'
In February, representatives from "Have No Fear" delivered a report to Pope Francis in Rome, accusing 26 bishops in the Polish Catholic Church of concealing the perpetrators of sexual abuse of minors.
Marek Lisinski, a co-founder of "Have No Fear," was one of those who met the Pontiff.
"The Pope took my hand in his hands and looked at me and ... grew sad. It had a huge impact on me. Then ... he kissed my hand. That gesture gave me huge hope," Lisinski said.
An abuse survivor himself, Lisinski told CNN how he had been groomed by a young vicar when he was a 13-year-old altar boy living in Poniatowo, in central Poland.
"It was in 1981 ... You must remember these were totally different times in Poland, there was a shortage of almost everything. But he had everything, sweets, food. It's important to understand what it meant in those days to get a sweet from someone," he said, explaining that "times were tough."
"He followed me into the toilet one day and started doing bad things to me," Lisinski said.
When he tried to tell his mother about the abuse -- on the same day that martial law was declared, in December 1981 -- he said she was "more worried about the political situation in Poland rather than me."
Lisinski said the sexual abuse "really hurt my life" and led him to become an alcoholic. Now sober, he now dedicates his time to helping other victims of abuse.
"Have No Fear" says it has yet to hear back from the Vatican about the report; its members are extremely frustrated at the way the Polish Catholic Church is dealing with what they see as a huge crisis in the country.
The automatic response globally has been to circle the wagons. No remorse, no repentance, no concern for the victims, just try to minimize the effects. Many countries are past that now as they realize it is going to get much worse before it gets better, if it gets better.
The victims (or, at least, some of them)
In March, Poland's Catholic Church released a long-awaited report on the numbers of sexual abuse cases there in the past 28 years -- the first time it has presented data on the scale of the problem.
According to data compiled by the church's statistics institute and child protection center, 382 clergymen were reported for sexual abuse involving 625 minors between January 1990 and June 2018. Of these 58.4% were male, while 41.6% were female; more than half of the victims were under the age of 15, the report said.
"Have No Fear" says the numbers do not tell the whole story; they want access to church documents detailing the nature of the abuse, and to find out what -- if any -- punishments the alleged abusers faced.
In the absence of those records, the accounts of victims like Anna Misiewicz, who are willing to speak up about the abuse they say they faced as children, are all-important in helping to raise awareness of the issue.
Standing outside the pretty wooden church she attended as a child, Misiewicz tells the filmmakers about the day of her first communion, pointing out where she stood alongside her alleged abuser for a photograph to mark the occasion.
Dressed all in white, with a lace headdress in her hair and a half-smile on her face, there is little trace of the turmoil she was going through but, she says, "I was under great stress because ... as a little girl I feared the photo would show that there was 'something between us,' as teenagers say now."
"He destroyed my life," Misiewicz says of her alleged abuser. "For me he does not even deserve to be called a priest."
He was a Catholic priest, but not a priest of God!
A Massachusetts priest who was defrocked for child sexual abuse and was portrayed in the movie ‘‘Spotlight” is going to prison for a second time — this time in Maine.
Justice Wayne Douglas said he didn’t detect expressions of remorse or responsibility from Paquin, who he said betrayed the ‘‘sacred trust’’ of his victims. He imposed the maximum sentence of 20 years but suspended a portion of the sentence.
Read full article on the Boston Globe
New Castle News
So what’s next?
Ever since a statewide grand jury released a report last August alleged acts of child sexual abuse against hundreds for Roman Catholic priests — including 99 in the Pittsburgh Diocese — the question of how to move forward has been debated.
Many of the accused priests have died, and for those who have not, the statutes of limitations for criminal and civil proceedings against them have expired. What recourse does that leave for victims?
The Cost of Abuse
CNHI reporters provide an in-depth look at developments related to the child sexual abuse crisis: the political debate about the statute of limitations, the creation of diocese funds to compensate victims and the lasting impact of the issue on the church and believers.
CNHI - (formerly Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.) is an American publisher of newspapers and advertising-related publications throughout the United States.
Contributors included The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, The Herald of Sharon, The New Castle News, The Daily Item of Sunbury, and The Meadville Tribune – all in Pennsylvania – and The Times-News of Cumberland, Md.; The Star Beacon of Ashtabula, Ohio; and CNHI's Pennsylvania and New York statehouse bureaus
The church, meanwhile, deals with other accusations of not only covering up priestly misdeeds, but in some cases moving the offenders to new locations without mentioning the allegations against them.
What can be done in recompense for the victims, and as insurance that the past does not repeat itself?
Please continue reading this story at New Castle News