Contact a Michigan Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office continues to investigate claims of sexual abuse by clergy members within the Catholic Church. Recent investigation results include a comprehensive report focusing on the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Recently, the Attorney General’s office has begun focusing on cases of abuse that occurred within the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. The Saginaw Diocese includes churches in Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties. According to the diocese’s web page, it includes 100,000 members of various Catholic parishes. 

Sexual abuse by clergy members can be difficult to discuss. Yet when you speak up, you gain an opportunity to receive justice and compensation for your suffering and put the past to rest. The experienced clergy abuse attorneys at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. can help. 

Michigan Attorney General Investigates Abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw

Few Catholic priests serve in the same church or diocese for their entire careers. Their mobility can make tracking their behavior difficult. Recently, the Attorney General’s Office has begun coordinating reports and evidence from dioceses across Michigan to gain a clearer picture of the misbehavior of certain clergy members. 

To date, reports of credible allegations of child sexual abuse have arisen against the following priests who worked in the Saginaw Diocese:

  • Rev. Ronald Vincent Gronowski. Fr. Gronowski worked in St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in Bay City, Michigan, from 1969 to 1971. In 2002, he permanently resigned in the face of credible evidence of sexual misconduct with a teenager in the 1970s. 
  • Rev. James Marron. From 1968 to 1971, Rev. Marron served as chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Bay City. He worked in Ferndale for several years and then returned to Bay City, where he was in residence at St. Joseph Parish from 1980 to 1986. Credible claims of Fr. Marron’s misconduct with minors have arisen since his death in 1987. 
  • R.D. Francis B. McHugh. Fr. Francis “Frank” McHugh was the assistant pastor at St. John in Essexville from 1953 to 1962 and pastor from 1971 to 1975. Later investigation revealed that he had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor during his assistant pastorship in Essexville, Michigan.
  • Rev. James Aloysius Mulvey. Fr. Mulvey worked at Holy Family Parish in Saginaw and was among the first members of the Saginaw Diocese. After his death in 1959, the diocese received credible allegations that Fr. Mulvey had also committed sexual abuse of a minor. 
  • Martin Ignatius Kalahar
  • Neil Francis O’Connor
  • Thomas William Ryan
  • Raymond John Pilarski
  • Robert Gordon Smith
  • Joseph Szarek
  • Camillus Frigo
  • Richard Thomas Szafranski
  • Terrence Andrew Raymond
  • Stanislaus A. Bur
  • John E. Hammer
  • Richard L. Howard
  • Jack J. Leipert
  • Leonard F. Wilkuski

What Happens in a Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim?

The Michigan Attorney General has filed criminal charges against several clergy members accused of sexual misconduct. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse can also file civil lawsuits to seek compensation for the harm they suffered. 

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Clergy Abuse?

Many of the clergy members who were credibly accused of sexual abuse have since passed away. Those injured by these clergy members can still seek compensation, however.

If you were abused by a clergy member in Michigan, you may be able to seek compensation from that clergy member if they are still living or dead. You may also be able to bring a claim against the church or diocese.

As the employer of its clergy members, the church and diocese is responsible for monitoring its employees’ actions and taking steps to stop or prevent abuse. Clergy members are also considered “mandated reporters” under Michigan’s Child Protection Law. As such, other clergy members who knew about abuse but didn’t report it, may also be held liable. 

Time Limits for Filing Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

Typically, adults who are injured by abuse have three years from the date of injury to file a claim. 

In 2018, Michigan extended its deadlines for filing abuse claims when the injured person was abused as a minor. If you experienced sexual abuse as a minor, you must file a claim by your 28th birthday or within three years of discovery of the abuse, whichever is later. The Michigan legislature is currently considering a law that would extend this deadline even further, including creating a window for any and all survivors to file a claim regardless of when the abuse happened.  

Determining time limits for filing abuse-related lawsuits can be challenging. Talk to an attorney so you know exactly how time limits apply in your case.

Compensation in Clergy Abuse Cases

The Attorney General’s Office investigates claims of clergy abuse to file criminal charges. Criminal cases seek to hold perpetrators accountable for crimes against society as a whole – which means they can often overlook the specific needs of the victims of those crimes. 

In a civil claim, those harmed by clergy sexual abuse can seek compensation for their specific losses. Compensation may include losses like:

  • Physical injuries caused by the abuse;
  • Mental and emotional injuries caused by abuse, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression;  
  • Medical bills, including the costs of therapy or counseling; 
  • Lost wages and lost earnings capacity if the abuse and its aftermath prevent you from working or working to your full capacity; and 
  • Compensation for harm to your reputation within your community or church. 

Just as every case is different, every compensation award is different as well. Talk to an experienced lawyer to learn more about what to expect in your case. 

Where to Turn for Help

If you were abused by a member of the clergy, you carry a terrible burden – and you may have carried it for decades. What happened to you was not acceptable, yet you may have carried this terrible truth alone and feel shame about it. 

It takes courage to speak up in the face of clergy abuse. You may feel as if you are confronting not only the person who harmed you but your community, your parish, and the entire Catholic Church. 

You do not have to speak up alone. At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., our experienced attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We have successfully represented many people who suffered sexual abuse, including clients involved in claims against Michigan State University and USA Gymn

Sommers Schwartz

View all posts by
Sommers Schwartz



Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.