Ex-Priest Gets a Year, Boy Victim Gets Life

While this is yet another of scores of articles I’ve written over the last 40 years about pedophile priests who have been convicted for their crimes in Michigan, this story actually contains the words of the victim.

The occasion for this news report is the Nov. 8 sentencing of former Michigan priest Timothy Crowley, 74, for unfathomable sex crimes he committed against a minor at an Ann Arbor parish. He was sentenced to one year in prison, five years of probation and slapped with a multitude of restrictions on his behavior.

For me, this is a very big and important story, since I’ve spent 40 years as a journalist tracking this whole mess. I vividly remember the first time I heard of this case in 1995, when I was applying for a reporter’s position at the Ann Arbor News. It was only a few blocks from where, for years, Crowley repeatedly raped and abused his victim.

In the banter of the interview I had with the newspaper editor in charge of hiring, the editor said he was present when Lansing’s Bp. Kenneth Povish explained to the parish why Fr. Crowley was suddenly removed as pastor. I will never forget the bewildered look on his face, bordering on anguish, when the editor said the bishop gave no hint of Crowley’s heinous crimes when he addressed the parish.

I’ve followed the Crowley case ever since — for 28 long years. I think the whole story of his crimes and how he got away with them should be known by all faithful Catholics in Michigan and beyond.

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