Priest Accused of False Imprisonment of Student Sentenced to 60 Days in Jail Thanks to Michigan AG

A Michigan Catholic priest arrested last year on false imprisonment charges has been sentenced to 60 days in jail. This is another example that demonstrates the importance of secular, unbiased investigations. We hope this news encourages other victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers to come forward and make a report to Michigan’s attorney general.

The sort of behavior that was demonstrated by Fr. Brian Stanley when he bubble wrapped a teenager, taped his eyes and mouth shut, and confined him in a closet for at least 30 minutes, would be terribly traumatic for any minor, and could lead to a lifetime of emotional scarring. Making matters worse, it was reported by the AG’s office that archdiocesan records revealed that Fr. Stanley had been engaging in this type of conduct with the binding materials for decades, and that they believed that the priest derived sexual gratifications from such imprisonment. Inexplicably, the Diocese of Kalamazoo appears to have found no wrongdoing, even though the priest was sent to therapy. Whether the confinement and bubble-wrapping of the victim was a part of the grooming process or the actual act of sexual gratification, it was obviously wrong and should have been seen as such by Catholic officials in Kalamazoo. It should not take a secular investigation to reach this conclusion.

This case also highlights that sexual abuse comes in many, many forms. Just because a story seems odd or unbelievable does not mean that it is not true, and we are grateful to the investigators who took this report and followed through on it. Children and communities are safer because of their work.

Finally, we applaud Attorney General Dana Nessel for uncovering this case and calling it out for what it was. The fact that this man will serve jail time and will be required to register as a sex offender is a plus for public safety.

We hope that if there are other victims of Fr. Stanley or any other bishop, priest, deacon, nun, brother or other church staffer out there, that they have the strength to come forward, make a report, and find healing and support. Anyone in Michigan who has suspicions about cases of Catholic abuse can assist the AG’s investigation by calling 1-844-324-3374 or using this confidential, online reporting form.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(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)


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