BY: Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller | IN: Personal Injury
Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but once served in the Catholic Diocese of Marquette. The charges against him pertain to alleged assaults on minors between 1981 and 1984 in Ontonagon and Dickinson Counties. Jacobs was arrested on January 17, 2020, and is awaiting extradition on the felony charges.
Roy Joseph, 52, lives in India and also once had ties to the Catholic Diocese of Marquette. The Attorney General’s office has authorized one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against him alleging a 2006 incident in Marquette County.
Since Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigations into the Catholic Church in Michigan began, abuse allegations involving 552 victims have been made against 270 priests. Nessel estimates her department would identify “several thousand” victims by the end of the investigation.
To date, eight priests have been charged, including:
Timothy M. Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese: Crowley was charged with four felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, and four felony counts of CSC 2. Crowley was a priest at several parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The criminal charges against Crowley were subsequently dismissed on October 1, 2019, by District Court Judge Joseph Burke after determining that the charges were brought too late – years after the six-year statute of limitations expired. The Complaint and Affidavit against Crowley can be found here.
Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit: Kalina was charged with four felony counts of CSC 4. A priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, Michigan, he was also a resident at St. Kieran Parish in Utica, Michigan from 1984 to 1986 and a weekend assistant at St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights, Michigan during the same period. The Complaint and Affidavit against Kalina can be found here.
Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese: DeLorenzo, a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, Michigan, was charged with three felony counts of CSC 1, and three felony counts of CSC 2. The Complaint and Affidavit against DeLorenzo can be found here.
Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit: Casey was charged with one felony count of CSC 3. He was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, Michigan from 2012 to 2015 and also had parish assignments at St. Mary Queen of Creation Parish in New Baltimore from 1997 to 2000, St. Dominic and St. Patrick Parishes in Detroit from 2000 to 2004, St. Thomas a’Becket Parish in Canton from 2004 to 2012, Divine Savior Parish in Westland from 2011 to 2015, and St. Damian Parish in Westland from 2012 to 2015). The Complaint and Affidavit against Casey can be found here.
Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese: Vellian was charged with two counts of rape. He was a priest at St. John Evangelist Parish in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and now lives in India. The Complaint and Affidavit against Vellian can be found here.
Joseph Baker, 57, Archdiocese of Detroit: Baker is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In addition, the professional educationally limited counselor’s license of Lawrence Ventline, a priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit, was summarily suspended by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The Michigan Attorney General has filed an administrative licensing complaint against Ventline.
In September 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Lansing published the names of 17 priests it says have been “credibly accused of abusing a minor” since the diocese was founded in 1937. All of the priests on the list are either dead or no longer in active ministry.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the cases reported by victims cannot be prosecuted because the criminal statute of limitations has passed. However, there have been rapid changes across the nation with states expanding their sexual assault statutes of limitations in civil cases where monetary damages can be awarded as a form of justice for survivors.
The Michigan Attorney General encourages survivors to report any suspected abuse to law enforcement officers (rather than church officials) using the state’s clergy abuse hotline at 844-324-3374 or online at www.michigan.gov/clergyabuse. The clergy sexual assault attorneys at Sommers Schwartz have successfully represented the survivors of sexual abuse and can assist you with reporting and with pursuing a civil lawsuit.
If you or a loved one was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest or clergy member, please contact attorney Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller. Consultations are free and your identity will be protected. Ms. Esser-Weidenfeller has experience representing survivors of sexual abuse, including most recently survivors of physician Larry Nassar.
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Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller focuses her practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and general negligence litigation on behalf injured plaintiffs.