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Over 450 accused priests identified so far in AG’s clergy abuse investigation

As the investigation hits 2 years, 11 men have been charged
Worshipers at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew on March 4, 2016, the beginning of the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids' participation in worldwide "24 Hours for the Lord" event called for by Pope Francis.

LANSING, Mich — Just over two years ago, authorities executed search warrants on all seven of Michigan’s Catholic dioceses as part of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation.

Since then, 11 men have been charged in relation to clergy abuse and over 450 accused priests have been identified, along with over 800 reported victims.

On Oct. 3, 2018, 42 Michigan State Police troopers, five officers from different law enforcement agencies and 15 special agents from the AG’s office executed the search warrants. Overall, they seized 220 boxes of paper documents and more than 3.5 million digital documents. So far, 142 of the boxes have been analyzed and more than 2.24 million of the digital documents have been reviewed, according to the AG’s office.

To date, 454 accused priests and 811 reported victims have been identified through the department’s review of paper documents alone.

Information has also been received through the AG’s clergy abuse tip line. According to the office, 750 tips related to abuse have been generated through this line, leading to 112 police investigation, 180 victim interviews and 285 police reports.

“I am deeply proud of the work our Clergy Abuse Investigative Team has done -- and we are dedicated to continuing this incredibly important work,” said Nessel. “We are committed to ensuring that every case of sexual abuse and assault is thoroughly reviewed and that whenever we are able to pursue justice for a victim, we do so aggressively and relentlessly.”

So far, the investigation has resulted in 11 cases being prosecuted:

  • Vincent DeLorenzo: Was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton. He was arrested in May 2019 and charged with three felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. A pre-trial is scheduled for Nov. 12, 2020 in Genesee County.

RELATED: Former Michigan priest charged with 6 counts of sex crimes

  • Jacob Vellian: Was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Benton Harbor. He was arrested in May 2019 and charged with two counts of rape. His extradition from India is currently in progress.
  • Timothy Crowley: Was a priest at St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor. He was arrested in May 2019 and charged with four felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His case was dismissed after a preliminary examination, but the AG’s office filed an appeal. The case is pending in Ann Arbor Circuit Court.
  • Gary Jacobs: Was a priest at parishes in Ewen and Iron Mountain. He was arrested in January 2020 and was charged with 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in five cases. He was bound over for trial and a Walker Hearing is set for Nov. 6, 2020.

RELATED: Former priest returned to Michigan for sexual abuse arraignment

  • Roy Joseph: Was a priest in Marquette. He was charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. His extradition from India is currently in progress.
  • Neil Kalina: Was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township. He was arrested in May 2019 and was charged with two felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His trial begins Nov. 19, 2020.

RELATED: Sixth priest charged with criminal sexual conduct

  • Joseph “Jack” Baker: Was a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne and was an associate pastor at Sacred Heart in Dearborn and St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills. He was charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He awaits a trial date in Wane County Circuit Court.

RELATED: AG: Seven priests charged with abuse in 2019 and more to come

  • Joseph Comperchio: Was a teacher at St. John Elementary in Jackson County. He was arrested in Sept. 2020 and was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His next court date is Oct. 26, 2020.

RELATED: AG Nessel: Former Jackson Catholic school teacher charged for sexually assaulting minors

  • Gary Berthiaume: Was a priest at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington. He was arrested in Sept. 2020 and was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His next court date is Oct. 28, 2020.

RELATED: Sexual assault charge filed against former Farmington Catholic priest

  • Patrick Casey: Was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland. He was arrested in May 2019 and was charged with one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after a trial in Oct. 2019 and served 45 days in the Wayne County Jail.
  • Brian Stanley: Was a priest at St. Margaret’s Church in Coldwater. He was charged with false imprisonment and pleaded guilty on Nov. 20, 2019. He was sentenced 60 days in jail, probation and sex offender registration.

RELATED: West Michigan priest gets 60 days in jail for bubble-wrapping boy

Information regarding the AG’s clergy abuse investigation can be found or submitted here. Tips can also be provided by calling the investigation hotline at 844-324-3374.

“We must all commit to breaking down the walls of silence that so often surround sexual assault and abuse,” Nessel said. “In the end, we hope this investigation provides a voice to those who have suffered in silence for so long and shines a light on those offenders who have escaped punishment for their crimes by hiding in shadows.”

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