Michigan AG Nessel releases report of alleged abuse at Gaylord Catholic Diocese

A report concerning allegations of sexual abuse that took place at the Diocese of Gaylord was released today by the Department of Attorney General.

The release acknowledges victims’ reports of abuse and the department’s findings which were derived from information obtained from the Department of Attorney General tip line, victim interviews, police investigations, open–source media, paper documents seized from the Diocese, and electronic documents found on the Diocesan computers, as well as reports of allegations disclosed by the Diocese.

The list of priests within the report was derived from information extracted from a search warrant that was executed against the Diocese of Gaylord on October 3, 2018 and from the tip line operated by the Department of Attorney General since 2018. This list includes 26 priests and 2 deacons. The Diocese of Gaylord ordained or incardinated 18 of these individuals.

During a Zoom conference this morning with several media outlets, in response to a question regarding what was required to place an individual on the report, Criminal Justice Bureau Chief Danielle Hagaman – Clark said quote “We needed to have somebody who made a report that was criminal in nature or related to grooming, cause grooming is not considered criminal but it is important because we believe it is a forerunner to sexual assault. And so in terms of substantiation I would say simply having a victim who reported to us that we would be able to confirm was employed at the time within the Diocese of Gaylord that we had information from their personnel files to be able to say they were at this parish at that particular time and that we had elements that made it criminal.”” end quote.

Of the 28 priests and deacons listed, 16 are presumed dead. Among the remaining 12, three are in active ministry for the Diocese of Gaylord. One is a pastor and the other two are in retired ministry. The allegations against those three clergymen involve adult victims. Criminal charges have not been filed by the AG against these priests.

For all 28 priests and deacons, the majority of alleged illegal conduct occurred before 2002.

This report is the second of seven reports regarding the state’s dioceses with the first released on October 27, 2022 regarding the Diocese of Marquette.

To ensure that “past failures to report sexual abuse will never occur again,” the Attorney General intends to share what was learned during the investigation. Dana Nessel stated quote “We are really hopeful that we’re going to have our next report within the next six months.” end quote.