A Michigan Catholic priest must register as a sex offender and is facing charges of false imprisonment.
In 2013, a couple asked their Catholic priest, Father Brian Stanley, now 57, to counsel their son. Instead of offering help, however, Stanley bound the teenager with plastic wrap, using masking tape to cover his eyes and mouth, and left him unable to move in a janitor’s closet of Otsego’s St. Margaret’s parish for over an hour.
Six years later, authorities are pursuing this incident, along with decades of similar allegations against the priest, and Stanley has been formally arrested by agents of Michigan’s Attorney General’s office who believe his crimes were sexually motivated. He is being charged with one count of false imprisonment and is facing up to fifteen years in prison and an obligatory registration as a sex offender. His bail was set at $100,000.
Stanley was placed on administrative leave on two separate occasions while Child Protective Services (CPS) and local police departments were called to follow up on allegations of crimes against minors, according to the Diocese of Kalamazoo, but, on both occasions, law enforcement did not file charges. In addition to the 2013 incident, there was another four years later, in 2017. In 2013, Otsego police were contacted and said the complaint was not criminal, so charges were not pursued, and in 2017, they forwarded the allegations to the Coldwater Police Department, but the department did not file any charges. Stanley has remained on leave since January 2017 and has been prohibited from public ministry during his absence.
The Diocese issued the following statement regarding what occurred after the two complaints: “Four years later, the Diocese learned of additional allegations involving Fr. Stanley. We reported these incidents to the Coldwater Police Department; no charges were filed by law enforcement. We placed Fr. Stanley on administrative leave from active ministry in January 2017. He remains on administrative leave and is prohibited from public ministry…We remain steadfast in our commitment to promote greater protection and safeguards of all people, particularly for children and vulnerable adults. We adhere to the National 2002 Charter for the Protection of Young People, which guides all that we do…We continue to cooperate with the Office of the Michigan Attorney General in its ongoing investigation. We encourage the reporting of clergy sex abuse to the Attorney General’s office by calling the established hotline at 844.324.3374.”
Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel seized stacks of files from seven Michigan dioceses, including the Diocese of Kalamazoo, in October 2018. Officials said it “was apparent from records that Stanley had been using plastic wrap and tape in similar behavior for many decades.”
Nessel said, “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. This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold them accountable – that includes unapologetically pursuing any and all individuals who abuse their power to victimize our residents.”