Father Michael Suhy of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, Michigan was told that he is being removed from the parish he led, according to Detroit Free Press.
Church leaders of the Archdiocese of Detroit say Fr Suhy is “overwhelmed with responsibilities” associated with the parish and the parish school. Father Suhy and his lawyer claim the priest’s removal from his pastoral role was part of a “cover-up” relating to his report of a possible grooming concern, the Detroit News reported Nov. 24.
Fr Suhy says he had alerted church officials after a letter from a couple came to him last year, “notifying him that a prominent employee of the Archdiocese of Detroit was engaging in the sexual harassment and grooming of their son.” Fr also says his removal is in response to his sounding the alarm.
News reports say Suhy told them the archdiocesan figure over whom he and at least one other expressed concern was not punished. “[Another colleague spontaneously shared with me his grave concern that the same alleged harasser was acting inappropriately with young priests of this archdiocese,” Suhy explains in his statement. “What we have here is nothing less than the selective and arbitrary enforcement of the archdiocese’s policies against sexual harassment and abuse … and the removal of a whistle-blower pastor.”
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, Ned McGrath, claims officials have been concerned for Fr Suhy’s wellbeing for some time. “The discussions aimed at getting Fr. Suhy to step aside voluntarily for his good and the good of the parish started — with him — this past spring,” McGrath told The Detroit News in an email earlier this week. “Ultimately and unfortunately,” McCrath’s response to the News continues, “[Fr Suhy’s] intransigence triggered a canonical process for his removal.”
Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby says Fr Suhy’s removal was the result of painstaking and patient procedure. “Following the required consultations and fact-finding,” The Detroit News reports Bishop Battersby’s statement as running, “the [removal] action taken on November 17 was believed necessary for Fr. Suhy’s wellbeing, and also for the well-being of the parish, parishioners and school.”