Former Michigan priest ordered to stand trial for sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s
We are grateful that former priest Neil Kalina will face a criminal trial in Michigan. For far too long, in far too many cases, Catholic officials who concealed child sex crimes succeeded in “running out the clock,” allowing perpetrators to escape responsibility for their damaging crimes. We applaud the tremendous work of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office (OAG) in its ongoing investigation into abuse by the clergy.
Kalina was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township from 1982-1985, and he is accused of sexually abusing children 13-15 years old there. He was first charged in May of 2019 and was arrested in Littlerock, California, where he operated "a faith-based service program for at-risk young men” in LA County.
On Tuesday, a judge ruled there was enough probable cause to send Kalina’s case to Macomb County Circuit Court for trial. He is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a child 13-15 years old, punishable by up to life in prison, and two counts of second-degree CSC against a child 13-15 years old, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. His next court appearance is set for November 1.
To date, the OAG has charged 11 people in its statewide probe of Catholic abuse, 4 of which have resulted in convictions. In a statement to the media regarding the Kalina case, Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “As we marked the three-year anniversary of our Clergy Abuse Investigation at the beginning of the month, I hope our continued prosecution against Mr. Kalina serves as a reminder of our ongoing commitment to securing justice for abuse survivors.”
Secular investigations, nationally and internationally, are providing the best hope of justice for Catholic victims of clergy sex crimes. Just as importantly, these investigations are revealing the true scope of the problem of abusive clerics, how often the dioceses that employed these perpetrators failed to disclose crucial information, and how the Church allowed these men to continue to endanger the public in other parts of the country, or even other parts of the world.
To learn more about the investigation into Catholic clergy abuse or to submit information, visit the attorney general’s website. Tips can also be provided by calling 844-324-3374.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Coordinator (925-708-6175, [email protected]) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386, [email protected]) Nadja Tirrell, SNAP Leader - Lansing (810 874-9620, [email protected]) Nancy Crabbs, SNAP Leader - Grand Rapids-West Michigan (616-514-7973,[email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is www.snapnetwork.org)