Settlement in Catholic Diocese Sex Case

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"A settlement of this type is a recognition of a crippling and devastating betrayal," Attorney David Mittleman said.

The victim -- who wishes to remain anonymous -- said Monsignor John Slowey sexually abused him when he was staying the then St. Vincent Home for Children many years ago.

"It happened between June of 1954 and March of 1955 when my client was 5 or 6 years old," Mittleman said.

Mittleman said the former Lansing attorney had suppressed the memories for years, but once it came back to him in 2008, he was deeply affected.

"He did have a significant breakdown, people witnessed it," he said.

The Diocese was contacted in September of 2009. The spokesman said their review board couldn't prove the man's story, but wanted to help with his healing.

"Only one victim has come forward through Monsignor Slowey's entire career," Michael Diebold said. "We simply don't know."

It's much different, Diebold said, than Father John Martin's case in Laingsburg, because in that case there were several victims who told the same story. Slowey, he said, worked in other churches and homes for boys, and no other cases have emerged.

"It's not to say we don't believe the victim," Diebold said,"we just don't know. It's not substantiated."

"I'm quite certain they found the case substantiated when they resolved the case the way they did," Mittleman said.

Mittleman questions the way the diocese handled this case. He said they asked his client to sign a confidentiality agreement, which he refused. He also said, the timing of making the Martin case public is suspect.

"In other jurisdictions this has happened where it was meant to blunt the impact of a significant settlement," he said.

In both cases the priests have been dead for many years, and can not defend themselves.

Mittleman said his client decided to go public when the case of Father Martin broke. He said he wants to help others who might be a victim of Monsignor Slowey.

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