For roughly three decades, Father Joseph Carne ministered as a pastor in Bessemer, Marquette, and Escanaba, Michigan. During that time, he worked as a fraternity adviser at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. He also volunteered as a summer camp counselor, giving him ample access to vulnerable young adults seeking his counsel.

In this position of ecclesiastical power, Father Carne often invited teenagers and young adults into his rectory, home, or church cottages in Dollar Bay. There, he offered them alcohol, invited them into his sauna, gave massages, and engaged in masturbation and oral sex.

Father Carne’s abuse continued at the summer camp, where he was a counselor. Survivors of his mistreatment have described how he exposed himself to them and have recalled witnessing him sexually assault others.

In 2002, Father Carne was removed from the priestly ministry for his actions. At that time, the Marquette Diocese sent letters of apology to the victims and offered free counseling.

In 2013, long after his removal, the Marquette Prosecuting Attorney was finally notified of Father Carne’s sexual activities at the summer camp. Unfortunately, because the alleged instances occurred outside the statute of limitations, no criminal charges could be brought. Father Carne died in 2019.

At Sommers Schwartz, personal injury attorneys Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller, Matthew Curtis, and Jay Yasso have a proven track record of fighting for sexual abuse survivors. Our firm has recovered millions from high-profile predators such as Dr. Larry Nassar—Michigan State University and USAG team physician—and Dr. Robert Anderson, who sexually abused students, athletes, and other patients for over thirty-five years at the University of Michigan.

Today, we will fight for you, too.

If Father Carne or another ecclesiastical leader sexually abused you, don’t wait to step forward and hold your assailant and the church responsible. Contact Sommers Schwartz for a free consultation and let our experienced attorneys help pursue your case with the compassion, empathy, and sensitivity you deserve.

Jay Yasso

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Jay Yasso

Jay Yasso focuses his practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and personal injury. He has litigated, mediated and facilitated numerous multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of injured victims for over two decades.



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