Nessel secures first guilty plea from Catholic priest 

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    Attorney General Dana Nessel has received her first guilty plea in her office’s prosecutions against Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. 

    Patrick Casey

    Patrick Casey, a priest at the St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to aggravated assault. He’ll be sentenced in November in Wayne County Circuit Court and faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, Nessel’s office announced. 

    “For too long, victims of clergy abuse have suffered unimaginable pain – often in silence. Mr. Casey’s decision to plead guilty to aggravated assault ensures that he will be held accountable for the pain and suffering he has caused,” Nessel said in a statement on Tuesday.

    The attorney general’s office still has charges pending against five other priests accused of abuse. Washtenaw County District Court dismissed charges against one other, Timothy Crowley. Nessel’s office said it plans to appeal that decision. 

    “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,” Nessel said. “Our department remains committed to bringing an end to an era of abuse that has hidden in plain sight for far too long.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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