Michigan Attorney General continues working to prosecute clergy abusers; SNAP applauds her work
We are thrilled to learn that one of the most aggressive and effective attorneys general in the US will be taking a former Oakland County Catholic priest to trial for sexually assaulting a youth decades ago. Investigation and intervention from secular authorities is the best way to root out ongoing abuse, discover historical cases, and bring healing and prevention to communities.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel yesterday announced that Fr. Gary Berthiaume was bound over on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony, after a ruling by 47th District Court Judge James Brady. The complaining victim, who was 14 years old at the time of the abuse, told authorities the assault occurred at the Our Lady of Sorrows rectory in Farmington in August of 1977. Last month, AG Nessel's office announced that Fr. Berthiaume was also charged in two other cases stemming from allegations of abuse in the 1970s involving teens.
SNAP's Communications Manager Mike McDonnell told Detroit News, "The best way that we have seen cases move forward is through the secular investigations and we applaud Attorney General Dana Nessel for the ongoing work. We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg."
AG Nessel has been a steadfast warrior on the side of survivors and children. Her ongoing probe of Catholic sexual abuse in Michigan has been one of the most effective investigations in the country. We hope her track record will inspire anyone who suffered child sexual abuse in the Church or any other organization to come forward and make a report using the AG’s confidential hotline at (844) 324-3374.
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)