Former Detroit area priest gets 45 days in jail, 1 year probation

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

A former Detroit area priest will spend 45 days in jail and receive sex offender counseling after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault in October.

The Rev. Patrick Casey, formerly assigned to St. Theodore of Canterbury in Westland, was sentenced Wednesday by Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans to jail time and one year of probation after being charged in May with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office. 

On the same day, a second priest, the Rev. Brian Stanley, pleaded guilty in Allegan County to attempted false imprisonment related to allegations that he held a teenage boy against his will in 2013, wrapping him in plastic wrap to restrain him.

Patrick Casey

Casey had been accused of engaging in sexual acts during confession with a 24-year-old who came to him for counseling in 2013.

The man had gone to Casey because he “was drowning” and “needed a shepherd,” according to a victim impact statement read in court Wednesday and provided by Nessel's office. But Casey “did nothing to help me,” the man said.

An attorney listed as representing Casey did not respond to a request for comment.

Casey was one of the first five priests charged by Nessel in May as part of an  investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He is the first among those charged to be convicted.

“For too long, victims of clergy abuse have suffered unimaginable pain — often in silence,” Nessel said in a Wednesday statement. “Mr. Casey’s sentencing today provides a sense of justice for his victim and reinforces our commitment to survivors that we will use every available resource at our disposal to hold abusers accountable for their actions.”

Casey had been removed public ministry by the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2015 when the man first reported the incident and Casey admitted the acts occurred. He remains barred from representing himself as a priest or conducting any sort of church ministry.

Casey's case remains under canonical review in Rome.

“The Archdiocese of Detroit trusts the judgment of the court, and holds all involved in this case in prayer," archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath said Wednesday.

Casey pleaded guilty in October to aggravated assault, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Stanley initially was charged with false imprisonment in the case. 

The sentencing of 57-year-old Stanley of Coloma is scheduled for Jan. 27. He faces up to five years in prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender. 

Three other priests charged by Nessel are continuing through the court process and another is fighting extradition from India. Nessel’s office is appealing a judge’s dismissal in a sixth case in Washtenaw County.