DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A former Detroit archdiocesan priest is heading to jail for sexually assaulting an adult male.
On Wednesday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans sentenced Fr. Patrick Casey to 45 days in jail and one year of probation for a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault.
Casey, former pastor of St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, pleaded guilty in October to third-degree criminal sexual assault. He admitted to engaging in sex acts with a troubled 24-year-old man inside the confessional in 2013.
In a victim impact statement read Wednesday, the man explained that he went to Casey out for counseling.
"What always hurt the most was that I was suicidal and he did nothing to help me," he recalled. "I was drowning, I needed help, I needed a shepherd."
Casey was one of five Detroit-area priests charged in May by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, part of her statewide investigation into clerical sex abuse.
On Wednesday, Nessel applauded the sentencing:
For too long, victims of clergy abuse have suffered unimaginable pain — often in silence. Mr. Casey's sentencing today provides a sense of justice for his victim and reinforces our commitment to survivors that we will use every available resource at our disposal to hold abusers accountable for their actions.
After Casey's October guilty plea, Nessel vowed to continue pursuing justice for victims of predator priests:
While this is the first conviction resulting from our investigation, I can assure you it is still only the beginning of an aggressive pursuit of justice for all those who have been victimized by priests or members of the clergy. Our department remains committed to bringing an end to an era of abuse that has hidden in plain sight for far too long.
Casey was removed from public ministry in 2015, after the victim came forward to report the assault. The Vatican has not yet ruled canonically on his case.
On Wednesday, archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath told The Detroit News, "The Archdiocese of Detroit trusts the judgment of the court, and holds all involved in this case in prayer."
In the past few decades, the archdiocese has gained a reputation as a hotbed of homosexuality, as well as clerical sex abuse and cover-up.
In June, the chancery admitted that its list of credibly accused priests remains incomplete, as multiple religious orders have not issued their own lists of abusers.
Speaking to Church Militant, Jeanne Hunton, Michigan director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), challenged archdiocesan officials to live up to their pledges of commitment to transparency.
"We know that religious orders are resisting providing their lists," said Hunton.
She added that the archdiocese, "if they want more credibility about their concern for abuse victims and proof of transparency, will use the 'wealth' of their resources to add the names they are already aware of to the list and not count on the religious orders to voluntarily turn them over."