Archdiocese of Detroit responds to AG Nessel's investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Catholic Church cross
Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 18:43:58-05

(WXYZ) — The Archdiocese of Detroit has responded following Attorney General Dana Nessel's press conference Thursday updating the public on the state's investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

In a media release, the Archdiocese of Detroit stated that the attorney general's investigation is appreciated, however, there were some points of clarification that needed to be made in reference to the press conference. One clarification is that the Archdiocese of Detroit has not entered into any non-disclosure agreements since 2002 regarding sexual abuse investigations.

Read below the full statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit:

  • Since 2002, the Archdiocese of Detroit has not entered into any non-disclosure agreements, unless specifically requested by a survivor of abuse, as required by the Catholic Church in the United States. In addition, the archdiocese does not enforce any non-disclosure agreements signed prior to 2002. We encourage all abuse survivors to share their stories.
  • The Archdiocese of Detroit does not self-police. We encourage all victims to report abuse directly to law enforcement. When we learn of an allegation of sexual abuse of minors, we immediately notify law enforcement authorities, in accordance with the agreements we have had in place with them since 2002, when we shared past case files involving clergy misconduct and committed to turning over all new allegations regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. We then follow law enforcement’s lead to step aside and assist, when requested, during any criminal investigation.
  • The Archdiocese of Detroit has not been asked by the Attorney General’s Office to stop its internal review process. These internal investigations are required under Church law, and their purpose is to restrict or remove from ministry anyone who has committed sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. The Archdiocese of Detroit places no deadlines or time limits on those who wish to report the sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons and other personnel. Be it five, 15, or 50 years later, our diocese accepts and responds to all reports – and immediately shares them with law enforcement.
  • Clergy with credible accusations against them do not belong in ministry. Since the Attorney General’s investigation began, the Archdiocese of Detroit has not received notification from that office regarding credible accusations against any of our priests. Should we become aware of such a complaint, we will act immediately.
  • The State of Michigan’s mandated reporting laws have been in place for decades. Through the years, we have strongly supported expansions to the list, including the addition of clergy. The Archdiocese of Detroit regularly educates all mandated reporters of their duties to report sexual abuse or neglect of minors.
  • When the Archdiocese of Detroit became aware of the Attorney General’s request for parishes to publicize the state’s tip-line, we immediately offered to help our parishes facilitate the publication of that material.
  • The Archdiocese of Detroit looks forward to working with the Attorney General’s Office to clarify some of the broad generalizations made during today’s press conference.

"The Archdiocese of Detroit offers continued prayers and sorrow for all victim-survivors and their families," the statement read. "One sinful, criminal act, especially against God’s most vulnerable and trusting children, is unacceptable and one suffering soul too many. We remain committed to preventing sexual abuse against anyone - especially children and vulnerable adults."

To report abuse within the Catholic church, visit this website: