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5 Michigan priests face sexual abuse charges

By Danielle Haynes

May 24 (UPI) -- Five Catholic priests in Michigan face criminal charges for sexual abuse amid a statewide investigation, state Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday.

The attorney general's office levied a combined 21 counts against five men, and the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended the counseling license of a sixth priest.

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The charges come after a months-long investigation that included more than 400 tips to the state and a seizure of hundreds of thousands of pages of diocese documents.

"Some of these clergy ... preyed on young children," Nessel said during a news conference announcing the charges.

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She said each of the five men were priests at the time they allegedly carried out the abuse.

Among those charged are:

-- Patrick Casey, 55, faces one felony count of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a man during confession. He was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parsish in Westland.

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-- Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, faces four felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and four felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. He was a priest at St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor.

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-- Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, faces three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. He was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton.

-- Neil Kalina, 63, faces one felony count of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. He was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township.

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-- Jacob Vellian, 84, faces two counts of rape, which includes a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Benton Harbor, and officials are seeking his extradition from India, where he now lives.

The sixth priest, whose professional educationally limited counselor's license was suspended, was Lawrence Ventline, who was with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Nessel described the cases as the "tip of the iceberg."

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"This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold all of them accountable," she said.

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