Friday, September 16, 2005
Three Michigan priests removed
Detroit - The Vatican has removed three more local priests from ministry and prohibited them from wearing their clerical garb or presenting themselves as priests following allegations of child sexual abuse.
The priests are William Brennan, who last served at St. Sebastian in Dearborn Heights; Alfred Miller, last assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Temperance; and Gary Bueche, who last served SS. John and Paul Parish in Washington.
The rulings come four months after the Vatican settled nine other cases, leaving 11 within the archdiocese still to be decided.
"We heard from everybody involved that they want some resolution," archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath said Thursday. "Now we have it."
The rulings follow a charter established three years ago in Dallas during the height of the church's clergy sexual abuse scandal, which was uncovered in Boston and quickly exposed in dioceses across the nation.
Over a 50-year period, the Archdiocese of Detroit reported that 63 priests and deacons sexually abused 116 victims. The diocese paid $1.4 million in settlements and counseling costs.
The three priests were on a leave of absence following the allegations of child sexual abuse. Civil authorities couldn't investigate the men because the state's statute of limitations had expired when the allegations became public.
As a result of the church's investigation -- following public outcry -- the men were temporarily banned from wearing their priestly uniform and acting in an official capacity. The Vatican ruling makes the sanctions permanent.
It is the responsibility of the men to honor the Vatican ruling, McGrath said; a local priest is in contact with them.
"We just hope victims of these cases have found some comfort and their healing process has speeded up, said Milford resident Ned Noon, who's active in the Detroit chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
"There is some justice being done. How much? We don't know."
See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.