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Statement regarding Attorney General's Investigation
Statement by Bishop Steven J. Raica
Regarding the Announcement of an investigation
by Michigan's Attorney General
The Michigan Department of Attorney General announced this morning that it has opened an investigation related to the sexual abuse of children by priests to include all seven dioceses of the Catholic Church in Michigan, including the Diocese of Gaylord.
In 2002, the Diocese of Gaylord completed a review of all of our priest’s files dating back to the establishment of the diocese in 1971. The results of that effort were then reported to the prosecutors in each of our 21 counties. We pledged then to report any future allegations of sexual abuse of a minor involving clergy of our diocese to them, regardless of when the incident was alleged to have occurred. This has been, and will remain, our practice.
Since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report over a month ago, we have been preparing for a thorough external audit-review of all of our clergy files. This was to be conducted by independent, highly qualified individuals to determine if there is anything more we should know about and respond to. Once the study was complete, I intended to publish on our website a complete list of names of clergy who had credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of minors against them. I had reviewed this plan with the priests of the diocese, our independent Review Board, and our Diocesan Pastoral Council. All of their responses were favorable and encouraging.
Over the past 16 years, we have worked diligently to learn from the mistakes of the past, to compassionately assist victims on a path to healing, and to do all we can to prevent any child from being abused in the future. I welcome this step by the Attorney General and pledge my full cooperation and that of the Diocese of Gaylord. We look forward to sharing what we have already put into place and to receiving any other suggestions for improvement from the Attorney General.
It is my hope that this investigation will be a further step forward in the healing process for victim-survivors across our state. I also believe the final report will help us in our endeavor to be transparent about our past and resolute in our measures to ensure our churches, schools and institutions are safe environments so that the mission of Christ in His Church can shine forth.