Diocese of Lansing releases report on priest accused of sexual misconduct

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:43 PM EDT
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The Diocese of Lansing admits it did not properly handle allegations of sexual misconduct made against a priest in 1990.

The Diocese released the results of an external review into two allegations against Fr. Pat Egan. Egan was banned from the Diocese in March following an internal investigation. Egan is a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster in England. He'd been serving as an extern priest for the Lansing Diocese since 1983, living off-and-on in Ann Arbor.

The first allegation against him was made in 1990 when a 27-year-old man accused Egan of sexual abuse during boxing training a year earlier. Egan denied it. Diocese records do not show an investigation ever happened.

The Diocese of Lansing says it turned the information over to the Washtenaw County prosecutor's office in 2003 based on new guidelines from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Prosecutors dropped the case because of the statute of limitations.

The second allegation against Fr. Egan was reported to the Diocese in August of 2014. A priest said a man in his early 20s told him about what he considered unusual activity during a boxing session. He claimed Egan only wanted to be hit in various parts of his body, including his face and genitals. The man said Egan appeared to become sexually excited by it.

The next month the Diocese banned Fr. Egan from participating in any boxing events and from ministering to young people outside of the church or classroom.

Last September the Diocese learned Egan was trying to get back into boxing. It revoked his priestly faculties on September 18, banning him from any public ministry within the Diocese of Lansing. The Diocese of Lansing says it has asked the Archdiocese of Westminster to "give serious consideration to recalling" Fr. Egan to his home country.

The external investigation by the law firm Honigman LLP came to the conclusion that the failure to fully investigate the 1990 allegation both at the time it was made and again in 2003 does not comply with the current policy of the Diocese. It says there should have been an investigation and discipline should have been imposed. The report also found the Diocese properly handled the 2014 allegation.

Bishop Earl Boyea released the following statement regarding the investigation: “I repeat publicly now what I have said privately and personally to the victim in question: I am deeply sorry for the Diocese’s past failure and all should know that the allegation would have been handled differently today.”

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