Priest accused of binding teen in plastic wrap in 'sexually motivated crime'

LANSING, Mich. -- A Coloma priest has been charged with false imprisonment for allegedly binding a teenager in plastic wrap and holding him in a janitor's closet at St. Margaret's Church in 2013. The Michigan Attorney General's Office says it was a sexually motivated crime.

Father Brian Stanley, 57, was arrested by special agents with the Michigan Attorney General's Office and is awaiting arraignment.

The state says Stanley wrapped the teen tightly in plastic wrap and used masking tape as additional binding and to cover his eyes and mouth in the Fall of 2013.

The victim was left bound and alone in the janitor's closet for over an hour, reports said.

Documents show the family had asked Father Stanley to help counsel their son, reports said.

The charges are a result of an examination of millions of pages of documents seized from all seven Michigan dioceses in October 2018.

The state says Kalamazoo Diocesan records show, "Stanley had been engaging in this type of conduct with the binding materials for decades."

“As our team continues to pore over what we previously thought was hundreds of thousands of pages of documents – but is now known to be millions of pages – seized from all seven Michigan dioceses last year, we know this is still only the beginning,” said Nessel. “This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold them accountable – that includes unapologetically pursuing any and all individuals who abuse their power to victimize our residents.”

Father Stanley served in Michiana for decades.

He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1984, then taught high school and coached track at the Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. He was ordained as a priest in Kalamazoo in 1996, and then ran the St. Charles parish in Coldwater for a decade before becoming a US Army chaplain. In 2013, he was assigned to St. Margaret’s in Otsego, then sent to St. Johns and St. Bernard’s parish in Benton Harbor a year later before being put on administrative leave in 2017.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo released the following statement:

“The Diocese of Kalamazoo learned this morning that Fr. Brian Stanley has been criminally charged by the Michigan Attorney General. The incident alleged in the Attorney General’s complaint was reported to the Diocese in 2013. In accordance with the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese promptly reported the allegation to Child Protective Services, who referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department for investigation.

“We promptly placed Fr. Brian Stanley on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation. According to the Otsego Police Department, ‘the complaint was not criminal and there would be no charges.’

“Four years later, the Diocese learned of additional allegations involving Fr. Stanley. We reported these incidents to the Coldwater Police Department; no charges were filed by law enforcement. We placed Fr. Stanley on administrative leave from active ministry in January 2017. He remains on administrative leave and is prohibited from public ministry.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to promote greater protection and safeguards of all people, particularly for children and vulnerable adults. We adhere to the National 2002 Charter for the Protection of Young People, which guides all that we do.

“We continue to cooperate with the Office of the Michigan Attorney General in its ongoing investigation. We encourage the reporting of clergy sex abuse to the Attorney General’s office by calling the established hotline at 844.324.3374.”

Pam McQueer is a parishioner at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Otsego, Michigan outside Kalamazoo. “I’m shocked! As I’m sure the rest of my community will be,” McQueer said. “The parish itself you know just in the years that I’ve been around. I’ve seen you know the numbers decrease. There are those who are the diehards. They’ll remain they’re very very loyal, But there’s been a lot of controversy.”

McQueer tells ABC57 her kids attended St. Margaret Catholic School and says if the allegations are true, there needs to be justice. “I’d hope you know that they wouldn’t pass judgement until the truth comes out,” she said.

St. Margaret Catholic Church declined to comment.

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