Diocese of Kalamazoo Bans Ex-Priests and Non-Clergy from Working with Children

Protection of Children and Youth

In a significant move to protect children and youth, the Diocese of Kalamazoo has banned several former Michigan priests and non-clergy members from working with minors. The decision comes from the Diocese’s thorough review and updating of its child protection policies.

5 Key Points:

1. The Diocese of Kalamazoo has published a list of individuals, including clergy and non-clergy members, who are disqualified from working with children.

2. The list covers more than just clergy sexual abuse, including continued violations of child-protection policies, failure to report allegations of abuse, and physical abuse of minors.

3. For an individual to be included on the list, the relevant allegation(s) must be established as credible through legal proceedings, self-admission, or clear and convincing evidence.

4. The list includes living members, deceased members, and those banned for actions elsewhere.

5. The Diocese aims to protect children, educate the community, and eradicate all forms of child abuse through these policy updates.

Protecting the Vulnerable

Bishop Lohse of the Diocese of Kalamazoo emphasized the importance of these policy updates, stating that the primary goals are to protect children and youth entrusted to the Diocese, educate the community to recognize predatory behavior and work towards eradicating all forms of child abuse. The publication of this list is a crucial step in creating a safe environment within the Diocese’s churches, schools, and apostolates.

Credible Allegations and Disqualifying Actions

The Diocese has outlined specific actions that disqualify individuals from working with children, including continued violations of child-protection policies, failing to report allegations of abuse, furnishing pornography to minors, and direct sexual abuse or assault of minors. For an individual to be included on the list, the relevant allegation(s) must be established as credible through secular or canon law proceedings, self-admission, or evidence that meets the “clear and convincing” standard.

Living and Deceased Members on the List

The list includes living and deceased individuals who have been banned from working with children. Living members, such as Douglas Alan Butler, Fr. Richard Fritz, and Fr. Brian Stanley, are listed with their last known status or employment and current location. Deceased members, like Father Dennis Boylan and Calvert Shenk, are included to recognize that the effects of their actions persist even after their death.

Those Banned for Actions Elsewhere

The Diocese also includes individuals who have been credibly accused of abuse or misconduct in other dioceses, such as Msgr. Leonard Bogdan is on the credibly accused lists of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Phoenix, and the Bishops’ Accountability list. These individuals are forbidden to function as priests within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

A Step Towards Healing and Prevention

The publication of this list is a significant step in the Diocese of Kalamazoo’s efforts to protect children and youth, as well as to promote healing for those who have been affected by abuse. By openly addressing these issues and taking concrete actions to prevent future abuse, the Diocese demonstrates its commitment to creating a safe and nurturing environment for all within its community.

Larry Nassar Survivors to Receive Nearly $139 Million in DOJ Settlement

Justice Department Agrees to Substantial Settlement

The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it will pay $138.7 million to 139 survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. This settlement comes in response to the FBI’s mishandling of the initial allegations against the former U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State employee.

5 Key Points:

  1. The settlement will distribute roughly $1 million per claimant, on average.
  2. The DOJ acknowledged that the FBI failed to take allegations seriously and respond with urgency in 2015.
  3. Olympic champions Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman were among the claimants.
  4. Nassar was found to have sexually assaulted more than 500 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
  5. The settlement brings the combined liability payouts in legal cases brought by Nassar’s victims to over $1 billion.

FBI’s Failure to Act Promptly

The settlement follows a report by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, which revealed that FBI officials in Indianapolis did not respond to allegations of abuse involving Nassar “with the utmost seriousness and urgency” in 2015. This delay allowed the abuse to continue, with devastating consequences for the victims.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer acknowledged the FBI’s failings, stating, “These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset. While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, we hope that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing.”

Survivors Represented by Diverse Legal Teams

A large and diverse group of attorneys represents the 139 claimants who filed administrative claims with the Justice Department. Four of these attorneys, representing 77 of the claimants, described the settlement as “monumental” in a joint statement.

“We are proud to have achieved a monumental settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that not only secures the recovery the survivors deserve but also holds the DOJ and FBI accountable for their failures,” the attorneys stated. “We hope this serves as a lesson for federal law enforcement and they make the changes necessary to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

Nassar’s Widespread Abuse and Lifetime Sentence

Larry Nassar, who served as the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor and was employed by Michigan State University, was found to have sexually assaulted more than 500 women and girls under the guise of providing medical treatment. He is currently serving what amounts to a lifetime prison sentence on sexual assault and child pornography charges.

Combined Liability Payouts Surpass $1 Billion

The DOJ settlement brings the total combined liability payouts in legal cases brought by Nassar’s victims to more than $1 billion. Before this settlement, Michigan State University agreed to distribute $500 million to survivors, while USA Gymnastics reached a separate settlement worth $380 million.

The substantial settlements serve as an acknowledgment of the immense harm caused by Nassar’s abuse and the failure of institutions to protect the victims. While no amount of money can erase the trauma endured by the survivors, the settlements provide critical support for their ongoing healing process and serve as a reminder of the importance of swift and decisive action in response to allegations of sexual abuse.