Nessel: Probe finds abuse allegations against 270 priests involving 552 victims

Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to announce charges against two more priests after the first of the year and is reviewing two additional warrants related to the  investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan. 

Seven priests have been charged, two of whom have pleaded guilty, in the wide-ranging investigation that so far has included 1.5 million seized paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents. The information has been reviewed by 32 volunteers who put in over 1,400 hours at night and on weekends, Nessel said Monday. 

The department has received 641 tips on its clergy abuse hotline, identified 270 priests  alleged to be abusers and received allegations involving 552 victims of clergy sexual abuse, Nessel said. She estimated the department would identify “several thousand” victims by the end of the investigation. 

“The vast majority of the cases can’t be prosecuted based on the statute of limitations issues,” Nessel said. 

“I hope that part of this investigation is really sort of a thorough vetting of what can be done in the future so that we can address these types of concerns earlier and better,” she said.

The department has reviewed 130 cases for potential charges, 50 of which were closed because the statute of limitations barred prosecution in the cases or the priest in question had died, Nessel said. Twenty-five cases have been referred back to the diocese for action because the priests were in active ministry.

The Archdiocese of Detroit is cooperating with the investigation, said Ned McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese. At the end of 2018, the Archdiocese of Detroit was aware of about 150 victims and 75 clerics credibly accused within the archdiocese between 1950 to 2018. 

“The health and well-being of children is of the utmost priority here and the people who are victims,” McGrath said. “We’ll work wi...

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