Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday charged a Catholic priest with one count of False Imprisonment and is poring over millions of pages of church documents, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office said.
Father Brian Stanley, 57, of Coloma, was charged with one count of False Imprisonment, the AG said.
If convicted, the felony carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and requires sex offender registration, the AG said. Stanley was arrested by Special Agents from the Attorney General’s Office and he awaits arraignment in the 57th District Court.
According to a story by Michigan Live, Stanley’s bond was set at $5,000 during arraignment, quoting the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office. Stanley was ordered to have no contact with minors as a condition of his bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 29 in Allegan County.
Stanley is accused of secreting away a teenage boy and allegedly holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013, according to the AG. Stanley reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap, then allegedly used masking tape as additional binding and to cover his eyes and mouth. Stanley allegedly left the victim, bound and alone, for over an hour before releasing him.
“As our team continues to pore over what we previously thought was hundreds of thousands of pages of documents – but is now known to be millions of pages – seized from all seven Michigan dioceses last year, we know this is still only the beginning,” said Nessel in the statement. “This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold them accountable.”
The charge against Stanley is the result of information from the files seized from the Catholic Church in October 2018. The alleged crime occurred in fall 2013 when Stanley was asked by the victim’s family to help counsel their son. The AG said that, based on Kalamazoo Diocesan records, Stanley allegedly had been engaging in this type of conduct with binding materials for decades. This conduct is a sexually motivated crime, the AG said.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said a criminal charge is an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.