Archdiocese: Sex abuse claim against late priest credible
Detroit — The Detroit Archdiocese said Sunday it has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a monsignor to be credible and is asking anyone who has been abused to contact police.
Detroit Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath issued a statement saying an allegation involving Monsignor Thadddeus Ozog was brought to the archdiocesan review board and "has been deemed credible."
"The Detroit Archdiocese — as is its practice — shared the complaint against him with civil authorities," McGrath said in the statement dated Saturday. "The Review Board also commissioned an independent investigation of the allegation. When presented to the Review Board, the findings from that investigation were found to be credible, that is, having a 'semblance of truth.' "
McGrath declined to provide the age of the victim at the time of the alleged abuse, the year it is alleged to have happened, details or the current age of the person, other than to say he now is an adult.
The victim approached the archdiocese three years ago to report the abuse, McGrath said, but was unable to assist in an investigation at the time. The victim again contacted the archdiocese this summer and was able to assist the review board in its investigation, McGrath said.
Ozog, who died in 1994, studied at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake and at the University of Detroit.
Ozog was ordained in 1956 and had multiple parish assignments including at Our Lady Help of Christians, Detroit; St. Columban, Birmingham; Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford Township; St. Hillary, Detroit; St. Mary, Wayne; St. Roch, Flat Rock; and St. Florian, Hamtramck.
Ozog was an instructor, registrar, dean and rector at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit from 1959 to 1975.
McGrath said the incident did not take place during Ozog's time at the seminary.
The archdiocese encouraged anyone who has been abused to contact civil authorities. Individuals also may call the victim assistance coordinator at (866) 343-8055 or visit protect.aod.org.
In October, police seized clergy misconduct records from all of Michigan's Catholic dioceses after serving several search warrants across the state within an hour of each other.
Diocesan officials in Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Marquette, Kalamazoo and Gaylord confirmed the searches took place as part of the Attorney General's Office investigation into the dioceses' handling of clergy sexual abuse of minors. The dioceses said they cooperated fully with authorities.
Attorney General Bill Schuette in August began an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and assault by Catholic diocesan and religious order priests as well as any attempts to cover up those actions dating back to the 1950s in Michigan.
Michigan's investigation was launched in the wake of a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania that revealed hundreds of abuser priests who molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.
Three priests with ties to Metro Detroit are among 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania accused of molesting children.