Current News



Michigan AG Dana Nessel's report details abuse allegations against 19 priests in Diocese of Kalamazoo

Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

DETROIT — Attorney General Dana Nessel released the third of seven reports Wednesday related to a years-long investigation into clergy sexual abuse within Michigan's Catholic dioceses.

The report on the Diocese of Kalamazoo indicated there were 19 priests accused of sexual misconduct between the diocese's founding in 1971 and 2024; 12 of those priests were ordained or incardinated within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

So far, two priests who had been working in the diocese have been charged in the investigation:

Fr. Brian Stanley is an Otsego priest who was sentenced in 2020 to jail and probation on an attempted unlawful imprisonment charge based on allegations in 2013 that he tied a 17-year-old boy to a chair with plastic wrap, taped his mouth and eyes shut, and kept him in a church janitorial closet for about 30 minutes.

Msgr. Jacob Vellian, a visiting priest to the diocese from India, was charged in 2019 with two counts of sexual abuse of a teen girl in the early 1980s. He reportedly died while awaiting extradition on the charges, but the attorney general's office has not received independent confirmation from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"In the end, we hope that this report provides a voice for those who have suffered in silence for so long and that it shines a light on those alleged offenders whose actions allowed them to evade true accountability," Nessel told reporters Wednesday.


Kalamazoo Bishop Edward Lohse said the report unveiled a "disturbing truth" and "historical reality" for the diocese that encompasses Allegan, Barry, Branch, Berrien, Cass, Calhoun, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

"It is tragic, appalling and inexcusable," Lohse said at a news conference Wednesday. "No one knows this better than you who are the victim-survivors of that abuse. You were entrusted to our care, and we failed to protect you. There is no other way to put it. For that failure, I am deeply sorry.”

The report issued Wednesday is the third of seven reports released related to an investigation that began under Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette in 2018.

Law enforcement conducted simultaneous raids on Michigan's seven dioceses Oct. 3, 2018 as part of the investigation and recovered 22 boxes of paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents.


swipe to next page

©2024 The Detroit News. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus