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Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit responds to AG's sex abuse comments

Detroit - Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has responded to comments by attorney general Dana Nessel about ongoing sexual abuse investigations. Nessel called on the church to stop its internal investigations so that police could handle sexual abuse complaints.

"I think there's some confusion about the type of investigations that we do. Since 2002, we've had agreements with county prosecutors where we turn over every complaint. And it's only after that they conduct their own review of the case do we proceed with our own canonical church law required proceedings," said Monsignor Michael Bugarin.

He said that canon law requires the church to carry out an internal investigation in order to remove or defrock a priest. "It's only by our canonical law that we're able to remove someone from ministry, so we do need to conduct our own review to restrict someone from ministry, but again we do not get in the way of local law enforcement," Bugarin said. 

Nessel also urged victims to disregard any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) they may have signed with the Church. Bugarin clarified that there had been no NDAs used with sexual abuse victims since the 2002 agreement.

Listen above to Stateside’s conversation with Monsignor Michael Bugarin.

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.
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