- Candace Neff Director
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Statement from the Diocese of Gaylord following Press Conference by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
Today Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel held a press conference updating the status of three investigations: The Flint Water Crisis; MSU/Nassar; and Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church. Since the Attorney General’s investigation of clergy abuse was undertaken, Bishop Steven Raica has repeatedly welcomed the effort and pledged the full cooperation of the Diocese of Gaylord. “I remain steadfast and resolute in that commitment,” Bishop Raica reiterated today.
“We were surprised by some of the statements made this morning,” said Candace Neff, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Gaylord. “We continue to cooperate and assist the Attorney General’s investigation in any way we can. We are very grateful for the assistance of the Attorney General in this process. The investigators we have worked with have been very professional, respectful and helpful,” Neff noted. “We look forward to the final report because we ultimately share the same goals – to respond with compassion for victim-survivors, to properly prosecute offenders, to prevent anyone from being abused in the future, and to bring about healing for those who have been harmed in the past,” Neff said.
Sixteen years ago the Diocese of Gaylord voluntarily reported all known allegations of sexual abuse of minors involving clergy of our diocese that had occurred since our establishment in 1971 to the appropriate prosecutor in each of our 21 counties. It then became, and remains, our protocol to report any allegations of sexual abuse of a minor involving clergy to civil authorities promptly, regardless of when the incident was alleged to have occurred or whether the accused is living or dead. The Diocese of Gaylord also reports allegations regarding sexual abuse involving adults. “We further encourage victims of abuse to report to law enforcement themselves,” Neff said.
“We have not received a request by the Attorney General’s office to cease all internal review processes,” Neff said. “We hope to receive clarification on this request soon.”
To report allegations of sexual abuse minor or others – even if it is in the distant past – the diocese strongly encourages individuals to contact local law enforcement, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 855.444.3911 (answered 24 hours a day) or the Michigan Department of Attorney General at 844.324.3374. If the allegation involves a member of the Catholic clergy or someone working for the church, individuals are invited to also contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator Larry LaCross at 989.705.9010.
Previous statements from Bishop Steven J. Raica and the Diocese of Gaylord, as well as additional information regarding the diocese’s child protection efforts can be found by clicking here.