Mich. AG: Priest detained boy, wrapped him in plastic
Attorney General Dana Nessel charged a Catholic priest with false imprisonment Thursday based on an incident the diocese said it previously reported to local police, who declined to file charges.
According to a release from Nessel's office, the priest, 57-year-old Brian Stanley of Coloma held a teenage boy against his will in 2013, wrapping him in plastic wrap to restrain him.
Stanley was arraigned Thursday in an Allegan County district court. His bond was set at $5,000 and he was ordered to have no contact with minors. If convicted of the crime, a felony, he could serve up to 15 years in prison and have to register as a sex offender.
The priest is accused of secreting away the teen in a janitor's closet at a church. He also allegedly immobilized the teen by wrapping him in plastic wrap and covering his eyes and mouth with masking tape, officials said.
Nessel said the priest left the boy in the closet for more than an hour before letting him go. Documents from the Diocese of Kalamazoo indicate Stanley had engaged in similar conduct "with the binding materials" for decades, Nessel's statement said.
Stanley had been asked by the boy's family to counsel him.
The Coloma priest is the seventh clergyman to face criminal charges as part of the attorney general's investigation into clergy sexual abuse and the handling of those complaints by Michigan's seven dioceses.
“As our team continues to pore over what we previously thought was hundreds of thousands of pages of documents — but is now known to be millions of pages — seized from all seven Michigan dioceses last year, we know this is still only the beginning,” Nessel said.
No sexual contact between Stanley and the boy is alleged, but conduct of that type is considered "sexually motivated," Nessel's statement said. False imprisonment of a minor requires the defendant to register as a sex offender, Nessel's spokesman Dan Olsen said.
The Diocese of Kalamazoo, which learned of Stanley's charge Thursday, twice reported the priest's behavior to police, once in relation to the 2013 incident and again in 2017 when additional allegations surfaced, according to a statement from the diocese.
The 2013 incident first was reported to state Child Protective Services, which referred the incident to the Otsego Police Department. Stanley was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, but Otsego police eventually found the "complaint was not criminal and there would be no charges," the diocese said.
Additional allegations in 2017 were reported to the Coldwater Police Department, but no charges were filed, the diocese said. Stanley was placed on administrative leave and prohibited from public ministry in January 2017, according to the statement.
Olsen said it would be inappropriate to comment on the past decisions of law enforcement.
"However, what I can say is that we brought charges against Mr. Stanley based on what we believe our evidence supports," he said.
The priest is the latest in a series Nessel's office has accused of sexual misconduct charges as part of an ongoing investigation. The probe stems from the state attorney general's office 2018 seizure of clergy misconduct records from all of Michigan's Catholic dioceses. More than 25 assistant attorneys general are assigned to the investigation in addition to their regular duties.