Despite Removal, Ann Arbor, MI Priest Still Attempting to Reach Church Community

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by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 23, 2019   

Father Gabriel Richard High School issues warning letter about Fr. Pat Egan

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By Alexandra Ilitch

A priest from Ann Arbor who was stripped of his faculties after being accused of sexually inappropriate behavior is still attempting to make contact with church members, according to a message from the president of Father Gabriel Richard High School.

The message sent on Friday by President John DeJak warns individuals to contact the Diocese of Lansing if Father Patrick Egan is witnessed attempting to minister as a priest in any parish, school, or agency of the Diocese.

Egan, a Senior Priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London, England, had his priestly faculties removed in September 2018 due to a "credible allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior with an adult male."

I'm writing to alert parents and would discourage any contact of any minor or young adult with Fr. Egan. 

Priestly faculties are a set of permissions that allow a priest to publicly minister. Those permissions include duties such as conducting masses, hearing confessions, and baptizing.

"It has come to my attention — and it has been verified — that Fr. Egan has communicated with one of our families seeking to work out," DeJak said. "I'm writing to alert parents and would discourage any contact of any minor or young adult with Fr. Egan. The Diocese of Lansing has cut all ties with Fr. Egan."

Michael Diebold, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Lansing, said the Diocese is aware of the statement released by DeJak.

"It's fashioned after and is very similar to the statement on the front page of the diocesan website," he said.

Diebold would not comment on whether the "verified" allegation against Egan was reported to the Diocese of Lansing.

DeJak did not respond to a request for comment.

The alert from DeJak comes one day after an open letter called on Bishop Boyea to resign from his position for "failing to protect priests and members of the church from sexual abuse within the Lansing diocese."

It also comes more than a week after an audio recording of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea surfaced.

On March 13, Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor posted an online message regarding the removal of Egan. It reiterates a statement previously made by the Diocese of Lansing.

The message also warns individuals of two additional directives from Bishop Boyea which include the following:

  1. Fr. Pat is not to engage in working out activities with anyone, period.
  2. If someone is visiting Fr. Pat, two people minimum should be part of the visit.

However, documents obtained by Veracity show that DeJak was alerted about the potential of Father Egan meeting with minors back in February.

DeJak was alerted about the potential of Father Egan meeting with minors back in February.

According to a February 28 email, DeJak received an audio recording and transcript of Boyea making comments about Egan's behavior in a public setting.

The audio, published by Church Militant on March 7, reveals a conversation between Bishop Boyea and a victim of Father Patrick Egan. During the conversation, Boyea discloses to the victim that Egan may still be meeting with minors without supervision, despite his faculties being removed.

"He still meets with kids. On his own!" the Bishop said.

When the victim asked if Boyea could make a public statement about this, the Bishop responded (in part) with this:

"I could go and lock myself, chain myself to him and watch him 24 hours a day, or I just have to say or I could put him in prison. I’ll let you put him in prison."

Boyea later clarified that Father Egan was not meeting with minors, citing he had "misunderstood" what the victim was asking him.

In his February 28 email to DeJak, a male victim of Egan expressed concerns with Egan's behavior and Boyea's recent statements in response to it.

"I believe you have a responsibility to warn your students," the victim said.

According to the victim, DeJak never responded.

Veracity spoke with some members of the Gabriel Richard community who said they did not receive a warning about Egan until March 14. It is worth mentioning that the Diocese of Lansing released this public statement about Egan in September 2018 after he was removed.

The recent series of events is concerning to a group of advocates for victims of clerical sexual abuse, who wrote a letter to Bishop Boyea to express those concerns.

In the two-page letter, sent by The Daniel Coalition on March 8, church members ask Boyea to make things right within the Diocese of Lansing.

The letter, according to the coalition, was prompted by the recent Church Militant article "in support of the victims of Fr. Egan's predatory sexual behavior."

"While we appreciate that Bishop Boyea removed the faculties of Fr. Pat Egan last September, we have concerns about how the Diocese handled this case," the letter said. "We have been in the process of reviewing information on this situation for the purpose of contacting the Diocese of Lansing directly."

The letter includes a list of requests for the Bishop, including the need for a new investigation into a sexual abuse allegation filed against Egan from 1990.

The coalition also added remarks about Rev. Mark Inglot, a longtime East Lansing priest who resigned from the Diocese of Lansing in October 2018 shortly after being suspended. The suspension was a result of a credible allegation of sexual harassment against an adult male.

The Coalition's list includes the following "observations" and requests for both Bishop Boyea and the Diocese of Lansing:

  • A request for the Diocese of Lansing to investigate the claim brought to the Diocesan Review Board in 1990, which ultimately found another accusation against Fr. Egan "not credible"
  • A request for an investigation into why documentation concerning the 1990 accusation was not found in Egan's file.
  • A request for a policy to be put in place to ensure that a record of all accusations, regardless of whether deemed credible, to be saved.
  • A request for more transparency: "The official statement from the Diocese in respect to Fr. Egan's offense should have contained a more accurate description of the offense: it should have indicated that the sexual activity for which he was punished was not consensual. The Diocese also misrepresented Fr. Mark Inglot's offense," the bullet point said. "It is vital that the Diocese give accurate and transparent information about the nature of offenses, for the sake of the victim, the predator, and the public."
  • Criticism with handling of Egan complaints: "When the Bishop learned of Fr. Egan's sexual misconduct he should have taken steps to inform all parents of minors who may have boxed with Fr Egan. Indeed, he should make a statement now since it has been learned that Fr. Egan has attempted to meet with a minor since his faculties were removed."
  • Criticism with Bishop Boyea's remarks to the recently published audio recording saying his tone "did not reflect serious concern about the possibility that Fr. Egan might still have contact with minors." It also said the Boyea "should have assured the victim's advocate that he was greatly disturbed that minors were still at risk and that he was going to act immediately to determine what more might be done to protect potential victims."
  • A request for Bishop Boyea to invite previous victims of Father Egan to meet with him, including parents whose sons have boxed with Egan as well as local educators to determine any potential appropriate measures for the future
The Catholic bishops have lost much moral authority over their mishandling of sexual abuse cases

"The Catholic bishops have lost much moral authority over their mishandling of sexual abuse cases," the letter continues. "We call upon Bishop Boyea to review the 1990 Diocesan Review Board decision, to formulate and execute policy that would preserve evidence of accusations, to correct the public statements regarding both Father Mark Inglot and Father Patrick Egan, and to take concrete steps toward protecting everyone."

The Coalition said it offers its services of advocacy to victims and expresses its desire to work with Bishop Boyea to ensure "care and justice for victims."

Read The Daniel Coalition's full statement below:

Lay Group in Diocese of Lansing Supports Victim and Calls on Diocese to Make it Right

WHITMORE LAKE, MI (March 8, 2019)

Statement regarding Fr. Pat Egan:

While we appreciate that Bishop Boyea removed the faculties of Fr. Pat Egan last September, we have concerns about how the Diocese handled this case. We have been in the process of gathering information on this situation for the purpose of contacting the Diocese of Lansing directly.  Because of the recent article published by Church Militant, the Daniel Coalition, in support of the victims of Fr. Egan's predatory sexual behavior, makes the following observations and requests:

  • The Diocese needs to investigate the claim that the Diocesan Review Board's decision in 1990 that found another accusation against Fr. Egan “not credible” was compromised by the bias of one of its members (who was apparently a superior in a community to which Fr. Egan belonged).
  • There should be an investigation into why documentation concerning the accusation was not found in Fr. Egan's file. A policy should be put in place to ensure that a record of all accusations, credible or not, should be preserved. Later allegations often give credence to earlier ones.
  • The official statement from the Diocese in respect to Fr. Egan's offense should have contained a more accurate description of the offense: it should have indicated that the sexual activity for which he was punished was not consensual. The Diocese also misrepresented Fr. Mark Inglot's offense (see the Daniel Coalition Press Release of February 17, 2019). It is vital that the Diocese give accurate and transparent information about the nature of offenses, for the sake of the victim, the predator, and the public.
  • Since Fr. Egan's sexual misconduct took place during a boxing session, and since Fr. Egan for decades had boxed with hundreds of young men, when the Bishop learned of Fr. Egan’s sexual misconduct he should have taken steps to inform all parents of minors who may have boxed with Fr Egan. Indeed, he should make a statement now since it has been learned that Fr. Egan has attempted to meet with a minor since his faculties were removed.
  • Bishop Boyea's remarks to the victim's advocate (published by Church Militant on March 7) did not reflect serious concern about the possibility that Fr. Egan might still have contact with minors. Bishop Boyea should have assured the victim’s advocate that he was greatly disturbed that minors were still at risk and that he was going to act immediately to determine what more might be done to protect potential victims. Bishop Boyea should invite previous victims of Fr. Egan to meet with him, parents whose sons have boxed with Fr. Egan and local educators to determine what further measure might be appropriate and possible.

The Catholic bishops have lost much moral authority over their mishandling of sexual abuse cases. We call upon Bishop Boyea to review the 1990 Diocesan Review Board decision, to formulate and execute policy that would preserve evidence of accusations, to correct the public statements regarding both Father Mark Inglot and Father Patrick Egan, and to take concrete steps toward protecting everyone.

The Daniel Coalition offers its services of advocacy to victims and also expresses it desire to work with Bishop Boyea to ensure compassionate care and justice for victims.

Anyone with information about the Catholic Church is encouraged to contact the Michigan Attorney General's Office at 844-324-3374 (Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET) or send information by email. 

To submit a tip, you can click here to leave your name, phone number and an email address. You can remain anonymous. 

 

Republished with permission from Alexandra Ilitch.

 

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