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5 Michigan Catholic priests facing sexual abuse charges

Posted: 4:41 PM, May 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-24 22:01:25Z
AG Nessel to give update on clergy abuse investigation Friday
AG Nessel to give update on clergy abuse investigation Friday

Five Michigan Catholic priests have been charged with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Four of the men have been arrested while one awaits extradition in India. A sixth Michigan priest is facing an administrative complaint and his license as a professional educationally limited counselor has been suspended.

“In the last 30 hours, more than a dozen members of our investigative team have been in courtrooms in Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb and Berrien Counties while other members of our team have been working with local law enforcement in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan – all in a carefully executed plan to take these charged defendants off the streets,” said Nessel. “Almost all of these charges came as a direct result of calls to our tip line but were then corroborated by files seized from the dioceses last fall, followed by multiple interviews with victims."

Charges were filed as follows:

  • Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and four felony counts of CSC 2 – a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Crowley, who was a priest in various parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was arrested Thursday in Tempe, Arizona.
  • Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Macomb County with one felony count of CSC 4, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring. Kalina, who was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.
  • Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of CSC 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and three felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. DeLorenzo, who was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.
  • Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Wayne County with one felony count of CSC 3, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was arrested Thursday in Oak Park, Michigan.
  • Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese, was charged with two counts of Rape, 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.

Some of the clergy arrested were "hiding in plain sight," Nessel said.

During a news conference, Deputy Solicitor General Ann Sherman shared one instance where a priest was discussing another priest's abuse of a child and shared his own philosophy on sexual assault. The priest allegedly implied the child teased and enticed the priest for the abuse to occur.

“It is my hope, as a Catholic and a public servant, that we can bring all predators to justice, creating a path toward healing for the victims of the sexual abuse scandal and underscoring the need for the Catholic Church to be transparent and to report sexual abuse to appropriate law enforcement,” Sherman said.

According to the Archdiocese of Detroit, the allegation against Casey was brought to them in 2015 and the complainant was an adult at the time. he was removed from the ministry and entered into the canonical process appropriate for it. While restricted, he is prohibited from representing himself as a priest, wearing clerical attire or exercising any form of church ministry.

The Archdiocese said the allegation against Ventiline was brought to them in 2016, and it was turned over the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. They were authorized by the prosecutor's office to move forward with the canonical review and Ventiline was restricted from the public ministry, and prior to that, he had not been assigned to a full-time parish ministry for 20 years.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit reads:

"The Archdiocese of Detroit 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. 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."

They went on to issue the following news release:

The Michigan Attorney General on Friday announced criminal charges against Rev. Patrick Casey and Rev. Neil Kalina, PIME, as well as licensing action against Rev. Lawrence Ventline, priests who served in the Archdiocese of Detroit and previously had been removed from ministry. The Archdiocese of Detroit appreciates this update and offers the following information:

  • The allegation against Rev. Patrick Casey ( photo [aod.us12.list-manage.com] ), a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, 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.

While restricted from ministry, Casey is prohibited from representing himself as a priest, wearing clerical attire or exercising any form of church ministry. Like any cleric restricted from ministry in the Archdiocese of Detroit, he is monitored to ensure compliance with church restrictions.

The allegation was included in the material collected by the Attorney General’s Office in the fall of 2018.

  • The allegation against Rev. Lawrence Ventline (photo [aod.us12.list-manage.com] ), a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, was brought to the Archdiocese in 2016. Per our agreement with the six-county prosecutors in the Archdiocese, we turned over the complaint to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. We were authorized by Oakland County to move forward with our canonical review and Ventline was restricted from public ministry at that time. Prior to his restriction from ministry, Ventline had not been assigned to full-time parish ministry for nearly 20 years.

Since 2016, the Archdiocese of Detroit has worked with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the local police department and the individual who reported abuse against Ventline. While restricted from ministry, Ventline is prohibited from representing himself as a priest, wearing clerical attire, exercising any form of church ministry. The Archdiocese had no authority to restrict his counseling license. Like any cleric restricted from ministry in the Archdiocese of Detroit, he is monitored to ensure compliance with church restrictions.

The allegation was included in the material collected by the Attorney General’s Office in the fall of 2018.

  • Rev. Neil Kalina, PIME 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. 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.

The allegation was included in the material collected by the Attorney General’s Office in the fall of 2018.
Questions about the allegations and investigation should be directed to the Attorney General’s Office.

The Archdiocese of Detroit 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. 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.

Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374 or aginvestigations@michigan.gov. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org [aod.us12.list-manage.com] , calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055 or by emailing vac@aod.org [aod.us12.list-manage.com] . There are no time limits or restrictions on individuals wishing to report abuse.

Editor’s Note: For additional information about how the Archdiocese of Detroit works to prevent and respond to sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults, please visit protect.aod.org [aod.us12.list-manage.com] .

Parish assignment histories

Father Patrick Casey

  • Ordained 1997
  • Chaplain, Cardinal Mooney High School in Marine City, 1997-2000
  • Parochial Vicar, St. Mary Queen of Creation Parish in New Baltimore, 1997-2000
  • Administrator, St. Dominic Parish in Detroit, 2000-2004
  • Administrator, St. Patrick Parish in Detroit, 2000-2004
  • Administrator, St. Thomas a’Becket Parish in Canton, 2004-2004
  • Pastor, St. Thomas a’Becket Parish in Canton, 2004-2012
  • Administrator, Divine Savior Parish in Westland, 2011-2015
  • Pastor, St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, 2012-2015
  • Pastor, St. Damian Parish in Westland, 2012-2015

Father Lawrence Ventline

  • Ordained in 1976
  • Parochial Vicar, St. Raymond Parish in Detroit, 1976-1979
  • Parochial Vicar, St. Rene Goupil Parish in Sterling Heights, 1979-1981
  • Pastor, St. Christine Parish, 1981-1985
  • Parochial Vicar, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 1985-1986
  • Chaplain, Madonna University, 1986-1987
  • Pastor, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Lake Orion, 1987-1990
  • Parochial Vicar, St. Anne Parish in Warren, 1992-1994
  • Pastor, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Detroit, 1994-1995
  • Administrator, St. Mark Parish in Harsens Island, 1996-1997

Father Neil Kalina, PIME

  • Ordained in 1981
  • Granted faculties 1984
  • Resident at St. Kieran Parish in Utica, 1984-1986
  • Weekend assistant at St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights, 1984-1986

More than 400 tips were provided from the Attorney General's Clergy Abuse Hotline.