Lansing diocese releases names of priests accused of abuse

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Roman Catholic diocese in Lansing on Friday released the names of 17 priests credibly accused of abusing minors.

Officials also said there is a total of 73 allegations against the 17 priests. The alleged victims include 66 boys and four girls; in three cases, the gender of the victim was unreported.

The list of names was compiled by diocesan staff with the assistance of the Diocese of Lansing’s Review Board for the Sexual Abuse of Minors, including past Review Board chairs.

The Diocese of Lansing published the names on its website on Friday and held a news conference at its offices to discuss the accusations. 

Diocese of Lansing

"The primary intended audience of this list are victims of abuse: to encourage presently unknown victims to come forward; to help victims expose their abusers; and to assist victims in finding healing — it is also hoped that this information will assist all to ensure that such abuse never happens again,” Bishop Earl Boyea, head of the Lansing diocese, said Friday in a statement. 

He also said the list is the result of an internal review of reports of sexual abuse of minors made to the diocese over the past 82 years. A total of 17 priests have been subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during that time. Thirteen of them are diocesan priests; three are from religious orders; and one priest is from another diocese.

The attorney general's office praised the move. 

"The Lansing Diocese has taken an important step today by publicly sharing information about priests who have been credibly accused of abusing minors," spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said in an email. "We welcome this transparency by the Diocese and will continue to work on our own efforts to pursue justice for the victims of clergy abuse."

The priests it named are:

  • Joseph Emile Aubin. He was ordained in 1961 and removed from public ministry on Nov. 15, 2018. In his last three assignments, he served as pastor at St. Isidore in Laingsburg, St. John the Evangelist in Davison and St. Mary in Durand.
  • Timothy Crowley. He was ordained in 1976 and removed from public ministry July 15, 2002. In his last three assignments, he served as pastor at St. Anthony of Padua in Hillsdale and St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor.
  • Vincent Anthony DeLorenzo. He was ordained in 1965 and removed from public ministry Jan. 23, 2002. In his last three assignments, he served as pastor at St. Pius X in Flint, St. Robert Bellarmine in Flushing and Holy Redeemer in Burton.
  • Paul James Guoan. He was ordained in 1987 and removed from public ministry March 11, 2002. In his last three assignments, he served as chaplain for Queen of the Miraculous Medal at a Jackson-area hospital, a chaplain for St. Mary Star of the Sea at a Jackson-area prison and Sacramental Minister at the St. Joseph Home.
  • Terrence Healy. He was ordained in 1968 and removed from public ministry Sept. 4, 1987. In his last three assignments, he served as parochial administrator at Holy Family in Ovid, pastor at Holy Family and pastor at St. John the Baptist in Howell.
  • Michael Robert Kelly. He was ordained in 1976 and removed from public ministry Dec. 1, 1983. In his last three assignments, he served at St. Therese in Lansing and parochial vicar at St. Casimir and St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing.
  • James Martin Novak. He was ordained in 1957 and removed from public ministry Nov. 25, 2002. In his last three assignments, he served as pastor at St. Joseph in Owosso, St. Therese in Lansing and St. Mary in Westphalia.

Crowley has been charged by authorities in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

DeLorenzo has been charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of first- degree criminal sexual conduct and three felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

More:Michigan AG charges 6th priest with sex abuse

Officials also released the name of deceased clergy accused of abuse in the Lansing diocese. They are: 

  • James William Lee Jr. He was ordained in 1948 and died Jan. 25, 1992. His three last assignments were at Holy Family in Grand Blanc, St. Joseph in Ypsilanti and St. Peter in Blissfield.
  • Marian John Lesniak. He was ordained in 1950 and died Oct. 9, 2011. His three last assignments were at All Saints in Flint, St. Stanislaus Kostka in Jackson and St. Joseph the Worker in Jackson.
  • John Edward Martin. He was ordained in 1918 and died Nov. 9, 1968. His three last assignments were at St. Philip in Battle Creek, St. Mary in Morrice and St. Isidore in Laingsburg.
  • John Donald Slowey. He was ordained in 1940 and died Jan. 13, 1983. His three last assignments were at St. Casimir in Lansing, the St. Vincent Home for Children and St. Mary in Niles.
  • Chester Vincent Tomaszewski. He was ordained in 1959 and died Oct. 21, 1987. His three last assignments were at St. Casimir in Lansing, the St. Vincent Home for Children and St. Mary in Niles.
  • Darius Wyszynski. He was ordained in 1958 and died Feb. 17, 2013. His three last assignments were at St. Leo in Flint, St. Joseph in Ypsilanti and St. Stanislaus Kostka in Jackson.

An additional priest, Jason Sigler, is clergy of another diocese, but has been accused of sexual abuse during time spent in the Lansing diocese. He was ordained in 1966 and worked in Lansing's diocese from 1968-70 and again in 1974. He served at St. John the Evangelist in Jackson and St. Robert in Flushing.

And three others were with religious orders:

  • Alphonse Boardway, a Conventual Franciscan who was ordained in 1967. He died in 1997 and served at Holy Cross in Lansing.
  • Joseph McHugh, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Irish Province, who was ordained in 1958. He died Sept. 25, 2007, and served in the Lansing diocese 1974-1976 at St. Gerard in Lansing.
  • James Rapp, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales's Toledo-Detroit Province. He served in the diocese 1981-86 at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.

Ten counties — Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw — comprise the diocese, established in 1937.

Since 1937, Boyea said there have been 1,654 priests who served within the Diocese of Lansing, consisting of 471 diocesan priests, 518 religious priests, and 665 who were ordained for another diocese but who have resided, even temporarily, in the Diocese of Lansing.

Its release of the priests' names comes about 13 months after then-Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette began an investigation into all 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.

At the time, Boyea said he and the district welcomed the investigation. 

"We are confident in our processes. We have and will continue to reach out to law enforcement with these matters," he said in a statement

He also said the diocese knew of no one active in its ministry who had abused a child and the last known incident of abuse of a minor happened prior to 2002.

"It is important that anyone committing these crimes is brought to justice," he said. "We continue to pray that Christ will bring healing to all victims and to his church." 

In October 2018, police seized clergy misconduct records from all of Michigan's Catholic dioceses after serving several search warrants across the state.

More: Police seize misconduct records from Michigan's Catholic dioceses

The Roman Catholic diocese in Saginaw released the names of nine priests in its district in July of this year. It also announced it would require criminal background checks for employees every six years and child protection training for both workers and volunteers every three years.

More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released lists of credibly accused priests. Most were released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

More: Saginaw diocese adds priests accused of abuse to website

Current Attorney General Dana Nessel's office has accused several priests of sexual misconduct as part of its ongoing investigation. More than 25 assistant attorneys general are assigned to the investigation in addition to their regular duties.

“I know I am not alone in feeling deep shame and sorrow upon learning of the plight of victims in recent years,” Boyea said. “I have met with many of them; all deserve our compassion, solace and support.

“As a church, we are deeply sorry for what happened to you. As your bishop, I offer you a profound apology for the sins of my brothers. As a diocese, we are pledged to help you find healing and peace.”