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Active Clergy Abuse Prosecutions Conclude with Sentencing of Ann Arbor Priest for Criminal Sexual Conduct
November 09, 2023
LANSING – Yesterday, former Ann Arbor Catholic priest Timothy Crowley, 74, was sentenced to one year of incarceration at the Washtenaw County Jail and five years' probation, on two counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Crowley, who pled guilty in August, was additionally sentenced by Judge Patrick Conklin in the 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County to receive sex offender treatment and register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
Crowley, who had been a priest at St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was arrested in 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. His case was initially dismissed after a preliminary examination, but the Attorney General’s office prevailed in the Court of Appeals. He was originally charged by the State with four felony counts of First-Degree CSC and four felony counts of Second-Degree CSC, for alleged crimes against one victim.
Crowley is the ninth clergyman convicted by the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation team. His sentencing completes the prosecutions of the five original priests charged with sexual assault arising from the Department’s clergy abuse investigation. The Department’s investigation into clergy abuse at Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses began in 2018 with assistance from the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies. The Attorney General ultimately criminally charged 11 priests throughout the state, securing 20 convictions against nine clergymen, delivering justice for 44 survivors. Two charged priests await extradition from India.
"I continue to be proud of the work my clergy abuse team is doing to obtain justice in these cases," Nessel said. "This sentence will never erase the pain Mr. Crowley inflicted on those who trusted him, but it serves as an example of our pursuit of justice related to clergy abuse and, hopefully, can provide some sense of relief to his many victims.”
In October 2018, 42 Michigan State Police troopers, five officers from various law enforcement agencies and 15 special agents from the Department of Attorney General executed search warrants at Michigan’s seven dioceses. In that effort, they seized 220 boxes of paper documents and more than 3.5 million digital documents.
The 11 criminal prosecutions of Catholic priests charged with sexual assault in Michigan by the Attorney General are:
- People v. Vincent DeLorenzo – DeLorenzo, a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, was sentenced to one year in jail and five years’ probation in June of 2023 on one count of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. DeLorenzo pled guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987. He was originally charged with three felony counts of First-Degree CSC and three felony counts of Second-Degree CSC.
- People v. Joseph “Jack” Baker – Baker, a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford and at St. Mary Parish in Wayne and an associate pastor at Sacred Heart in Dearborn and at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills, was sentenced to 3-15 years’ incarceration in March of 2023 on one count of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. A jury found Baker guilty of sexual penetration with a person under 13 for a 2004 rape. The charge against Baker came about as a result of a tip from the Archdiocese of Detroit, which received the original report and immediately reported it to the lead prosecutor on Attorney General Nessel’s clergy abuse team in 2019.
- People v. Neil Kalina – Kalina, a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was sentenced to 7-15 years’ incarceration in July 2022 on two counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. A jury found Kalina guilty of sexually assaulting a child aged 14 in 1984.
- People v. Gary Berthiaume – Berthiaume, a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wyandotte and later Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, was sentenced to 17 months to 15 years’ incarceration on two counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and one count of Gross Indecency in January 2022. Berthiaume pled guilty to the CSC charges and no contest to the gross indecency charge in 2021. Berthiaume sexually abused three children between the ages of 13 and 15 in the 1970s. He was arrested in 1977 for sexual assault of two other minor children and served time in the Oakland County Jail for these crimes before being transferred by the church to the Diocese of Cleveland. He was transferred again in 1987 to the Diocese of Joliet. He was arrested at his home in Warrenville, IL in September 2020.
- People v. Gary Jacobs – Jacobs, a priest in the Diocese of Marquette active in Dickinson and Ontonagon Counties, was sentenced to 8-15 years’ incarceration on three counts of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and two counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. Jacobs pled guilty to each count, admitting to abusing several children under the age of 16 in the Upper Peninsula during the 1980s.
- People v. Joseph Comperchio – Comperchio, a church organist and Catholic school drama and music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson, was sentenced in August of 2021 to 12-30 years’ incarceration on one count of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and three counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. Comperchio pled guilty to each count in June of 2021. He had been originally charged with two counts of First-Degree CSC and nine counts of Second-Degree CSC for sexual abuse of four minor children, some as young as nine-years-old, in the 1970s.
- People v. Brian Stanley – Stanley, a priest at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church in Otsego, was sentenced in January of 2020 to 60 days’ incarceration and five years’ probation, as well as 15 years of sex offender registration, on one count of Attempted False Imprisonment. Stanley pled guilty in January 2020 to immobilizing a teenage boy by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap and using masking tape as additional binding to cover the child’s eyes and mouth, leaving him bound and alone in the janitor’s room for an extended period of time before returning and eventually letting him go in 2013.
- People v. Patrick Casey – Casey, a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was sentenced in November of 2019 to 45 days’ incarceration and one year of probation on one count of Aggravated Assault. Casey pled guilty to the charge as a jury deliberated one count Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct for initiating oral sex with an adult attempting to make confession to him in 2013.
- People v. Timothy Crowley – Crowley, a priest at St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was sentenced today to one year incarceration and five years’ probation on two counts of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. Crowley pled guilty in August 2023, and was originally charged with four felony counts of First-Degree CSC and four felony counts of Second-Degree CSC for sexually abusing a minor child three decades ago.
- People v. Roy Joseph – Joseph, a priest in Marquette County, was charged with one count of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in January of 2020 for a 2006 assault. He is awaiting extradition from India.
- People v. Jacob Vellian – Vellian, a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Benton Harbor, was charged in May of 2019 with two counts of rape under the previous criminal sexual conduct statute for crimes committed against a child in the 1970s. He is awaiting extradition from India.
In addition to the paper and digital documents seized from the dioceses, information is also received through the Attorney General’s clergy abuse tip line. The tip line has generated 1,085 tips related to abuse, leading to many police investigations, at least 180 victim interviews and more than 285 police reports.
Information can be shared via the investigation hotline at 844-324-3374 or by email.
Victims of sexual abuse and/or assault in need of additional resources should contact 855-VOICES4.
The Department’s thorough investigation into clergy abuse has made Michigan a leader nationwide in this work, with more criminal prosecutions than any other state. The success is accredited to the investigative and prosecution team comprised of experienced sexual assault and cold case sexual assault professionals, as well as a partnership with the many Dioceses throughout the state who aided in the investigations.
Due to the statute of limitations and the death of many priests since the allegations of abuse, many priests who have been identified by victims may not be prosecuted. However, the Department of Attorney General takes a victim-centered approach and has investigated each allegation, even when criminal charges were not feasible, and has provided victim advocate services to each survivor who came forward.
“We must all commit to breaking down the walls of silence that so often surround sexual assault and abuse. In the end, we hope this investigation provides a voice to those who have suffered in silence for so long and shines a light on those offenders who have escaped punishment for their crimes by hiding in shadows,” Nessel added.
This project was supported in part by Grant No. WE AX 0030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.