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Sexual abuse of minors in the church included 66 boys and 4 girls

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 18:16:02-04

LANSING, Mich. — "An estimated 2.8% of priests belonging to the Diocese of Lansing have been subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor since the foundation of the diocese in 1937 – over 90% of such allegations stem from a three-decade period beginning in the 1960’s" - that is according to a press release from the Lansing Diocese on Friday, September 27.

The Diocese released a list that revealed the names of priests who have credibly abused children discovered through an investigation.

The list was released at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by a press conference at 10 a.m. with:
The Most Reverend Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing
Will Bloomfield, General Counsel to the Diocese of Lansing, who oversaw the review process
Eileen Craig, a survivor of sexual abuse who now counsels fellow victims through the Grief to Grace program

Boyea started out by saying that they (the Diocese) want to help victims.

"I want to know if there's anyone else out there that's been abused," he added.

Will Bloomfield said that the release on Friday and the press conference did not reveal anything that the Attorney General's office didn't already know about.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said, "The Lansing Diocese has taken an important step today by publicly sharing information about priests who have been credibly accused of abusing minors. We welcome this transparency by the Diocese and will continue to work on our own efforts to pursue justice for the victims of clergy abuse.”

According to the report, 2.8 percent of those 1,654 priests that have been through the Diocese since 1937 have been subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse.

Bloomfield revealed the numbers and gender of victims that were abused.

He said there were 66 boys, 4 girls, and 3 unknown genders that were abused.

He added that they don't know the specific ages.

"When reports come in, we don't always get the age of the minor, often it's a range of years."

He said it is usually during adolescent years but he couldn't give a clear answer.

The press conference revealed that the investigation is not over.

Bloomfield said there are several pending allegations to be reviewed and there could be more names released.

When asked why people waited so long to report the abuse, Bloomfield answered that he thought it was tied to when the scandal in Boston came to light. Boston Globe - 'Church allowed abuse by priest for years'

And since 2002, they have encouraged people to come forward and tell their story.

"There has been one allegation since 2002 of a priest molesting a minor," he said. "It went to the AG's office and was discovered it was a hoax."

As to where the abuse would occur, he answered that not all reports stated where it happened, but some said on church property, at homes, and some out of state.

Now, Boyea wants to focus on more resources to help victims and on prevention in the future.

"We have to make sure all the policies and practices are all in place and we keep monitoring that. Right now, each of these parishes has a coordinator in them, but I am trying to get them to be peer evaluators so they can evaluate each other and each parish as a means of support of one another to make sure our parishes are safe places," Boyea said.

The Diocese has set up a victim's hotline and a they offer a retreat once a year for victims.

For more information on reporting an incident, click here.

CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION INFORMATION:
Contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Lansing, Cheryl Williams-Hecksel, LMSW, 1-888-308-6252 or via e-mail to: vac@dioceseoflansing.org

If anyone has reason to suspect physical, sexual or emotional abuse of any person of any age, please contact the Michigan Attorney General hotline (844)-321-3374, Protective Services or the police, as appropriate.

What if I am an adult victim of sexual harassment, abuse, or other types of harassment by someone who works for the Catholic Church?
Contact the Lighthouse Incident Reporting service, 844-446-0009 or Lisa Kutas, Human Resources Director, 517-342-2511

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