Five Michigan Catholic Priests ‘Who Preyed on Young Children and Vulnerable Adults’ Charged With 21 Counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says Friday. May 254, 2019, during a presser in Lansing, after announcing five former Michigan priests have been charged with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct. (Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal)

Law enforcement with the Michigan Attorney General’s office on Thursday charged five men with 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct as part of its ongoing investigation into sex abuse at Catholic churches in the state.

The charges are based on disturbing evidence of abuse investigators said they found in records seized from Michigan dioceses, authorities said Friday, and just the first in what will be a long investigation of clergy abuse in Michigan.

“Some of those clergy who preyed on young children and vulnerable adults, unfortunately those clergy were hiding in plain sight,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said Friday. “[They were] reporting to comfort their parishioners, hearing confessions, taking advantage of positions of faith and authority. Today we begin holding those clergy accountable.”

The suspects charged Thursday were priests in the Lansing Diocese, Archdiocese of Detroit and Kalamazoo Diocese when they preyed on children and vulnerable adults, Nessel said. Investigators identified one victim in each case ranging from 5 to 26 years old.

An administrative complaint is filed against a sixth Michigan priest, whose counseling license was suspended by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The criminal suspects face a range of possible prison time, from life to 15-year sentences, depending on their convictions.

The following men were charged:

  • Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese. Crowley was a priest at various parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor. He is charged with four counts of first-degree and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 15th District Court in Washtenaw County. He was arrested Thursday in Tempe, Arizona.
  • Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit. Kalina was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township. He is charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 41 A1 District Court in Macomb County. He was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.
  • Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese. DeLorenzo was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton. He is charged with three counts of first-degree and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 67th District Court in Genessee County. He was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.
  • Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit. Casey was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland. He is charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 18th District Court in Wayne County. He was arrested Thursday in Oak Park.
  • Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese. Vellian was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Benton Harbor. He is charged with two counts of rape in 5th District Court in Berrien County. He lives in Kerala, India and has not yet been arrested but awaits extradition.

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SOURCE: USA Today; Lansing State Journal, Carol Thompson