Former Shelby Township Priest to Stand Trial for Sex Abuse

Agency: Attorney General

Media contact: Lynsey Mukomel 517-599-2746
Public inquiries: 517-335-7622

October 12, 2021

LANSING - A former Macomb County priest will face trial for criminal sexual assault (CSC) following a preliminary exam, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today. 

Tuesday afternoon, a judge ruled there's enough probable cause to send certain charges against Neil Kalina, 66, to Macomb County Circuit Court. He was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township from 1982-1985. 

"As we marked the three-year anniversary of our Clergy Abuse Investigation at the beginning of the month, I hope our continued prosecution against Mr. Kalina serves as a reminder of our ongoing commitment to securing justice for abuse survivors," Nessel said.   

Kalina was first charged in May 2019 and arrested in Littlerock, California. That case was since reissued to include first-degree CSC. In all, Kalina faces the following as the case moves to trial: 

  • two counts of second-degree CSC with a child between 13 but less than 16, felonies punishable by 15 years in prison; and 
  • one count of first-degree CSC with a child between 13 but less than 16, a felony punishable by life in prison. 

A second case, which was charged in June, was dismissed at the preliminary exam because the survivor is unable to proceed with the prosecution at this time.  

Kalina's first date in Macomb County Circuit Court is set for Nov. 1. 

In total, 11 people have been charged since the beginning of the Department of Attorney General's Clergy Abuse Investigation. Four of the cases have resulted in convictions. 

In August, former Catholic school music teacher Joseph Comperchio was sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison.  

In July, former U.P. priest Gary Jacobs received his second prison sentence. Jacobs' sentence is between eight and 15 years in prison. 

Former priests Patrick Casey and Brian Stanley pleaded guilty in their respective cases in 2019. 

Also in July, Gary Berthiaume - a former priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wyandotte and later Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington - was ordered to stand trial on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He faces two additional cases, which were first charged in June

To learn more about Nessel's investigation into clergy abuse or to submit information, visit the Attorney General's website. Tips can also be provided by calling 844-324-3374.  

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Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos of defendants.