Archdiocese: Abuse claim against dead priest deemed credible

Detroit News staff and wire reports
Rev. Jan Tyminski

Detroit — The Archdiocese of Detroit says an allegation that a priest who died in 1984 sexually abused a child has been found to be credible.

The archdiocese said in a news release Friday that the complaint against the Rev. Jan Tyminski was brought forward to the Archdiocesan Review Board, considered and deemed to be credible.

The archdiocese didn’t say where or when the abuse occurred.

The allegation was reported in the last few months, said Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Another similar allegation had been brought more than a decade ago, but the review board did not investigate claims against deceased priests at that time, McGrath said.

Tyminski was ordained in Poland in 1935 and began ministering in the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1951. He served in five Detroit parishes: St. Andrew, Resurrection, Sts. Peter & Paul (Westside), St. Cunegunda and Immaculate Conception. He retired in 1976.

Roman Catholic dioceses across Michigan have turned over documents in a state investigation of sexual abuse by priests.

The probe started in August shortly after a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania found hundreds of priests had molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.

It coincides with calls for better handling of abuse complaints. 

Last week, Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities, in a new effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.

The law provides whistleblower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially. And it outlines internal procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.

Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron said he supported the measure.

"All the faithful deserve our best and swiftest actions, especially those who have been harmed. Even one incidence of abuse to a child of God is too many," he said in a statement. "In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we believe that transparency and accountability are essential for healing and rebuilding trust. We also know that we cannot — and should not — handle this alone, so we continue to report abuse to law enforcement. I am grateful for my clergy and lay collaborators who are working with me for justice and healing."

Anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or church representatives are asked to contact local law enforcement, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office or the Archdiocese of Detroit at or a toll-free victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055. There are no time limits or restrictions on making a complaint. 

Detroit News staff writer Mark Hicks and the Associated Press contributed.