Survivors of clergy abuse are calling on the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit to update its list of priests accused of abuse.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, gathered at the Archdiocese of Detroit on Tuesday evening to call on the archdiocese to act, and to protest potential funding cuts to the attorney general’s office, which is investigating cases of abuse.
Jeanne Hunton is the Michigan director for SNAP. She says the list is important for bringing perpetrators to justice, and validating victims who may feel alone in their experience.
“As a survivor, you live a long time in shame and guilt which isn’t yours to carry…. If someone has been living with that, they don’t know that they’re not the only one who was abused by this person.” Hunton says seeing their abuser’s name on a list can "help them come forward, and it’s a liberation when a survivor can be validated.”
The Archdiocese of Detroit keeps a list of clergy “credibly accused of abuse,” and their status. The list currently contains 67 priests, 15 of whom have been laicized or removed from public ministry, 30 of whom are deceased, six of whom were transferred out of Detroit, 13 of whom are from religious orders, and three of whom are currently under investigation.
On May 24, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that five more priests had been charged in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, two of whom are on the diocese’s list. Nessel called these five cases the “the tip of the iceberg.”
In a statement, the Detroit archdiocese said it's committed re-examining and thoroughly investigating credible accusations.
“In recent months, the Archdiocese of Detroit was made aware of concerns about names of religious order priests not included on our list of clergy credibly accused of abuse. At that time, we committed to re-examine each name on our list, as well as the information provided by the many religious orders that have worked in our area. This commitment stands,” Ned McGrath, director of public affairs for the archdiocese, said.
“Our list is continually updated as we receive new information. For example, on May 17, 2019, we added deceased priest Father Jan (John) Tyminski to the list, following a posthumous complaint being reported to the archdiocese and deemed credible. In addition, we added the names of Patrick Casey, Neil Kalina, PIME and Lawrence Ventline, all publicly named as subjects of a state investigation. The archdiocese appreciates any assistance and updates from members of the community in our efforts to keep our information updated and accurate.”