Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Clergy Abuse 

Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Clergy Abuse

Contact the Michigan Clergy Abuse Coalition for Help Today

For several years, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office has investigated instances of sexual abuse by clergy members within the Catholic Church. Several priests have already been charged with criminal acts related to sexual abuse, and the Attorney General’s office reports that more criminal charges will come. 

Criminal cases seek to hold a person accountable for violating criminal laws. They focus on punishing and deterring actions that harm society as a whole as well as individuals. Yet individuals injured by clergy sexual abuse often find a criminal case doesn’t fully compensate them for the mental and emotional pain they suffered一which they may have carried for decades.

Michigan residents abused by a member of the clergy may also file a civil lawsuit. These lawsuits seek compensation that financially compensates the individual survivor’s harms and losses directly. Talk with an attorney at the Michigan Clergy Abuse Coalition to find out the next steps. 

Michigan Attorney General Begins Abuse Investigations at the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw

As the Michigan Attorney General’s Office continues its investigations into the Michigan Catholic Dioceses, additional claims of abuse and predator priests have come to light. The investigations look not only at priests accused of sexual misconduct but also at others within the Catholic Church who knew about the sexual abuse and participated in covering it up. 

To date, a number of priests who served in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, have been brought to light. They include the following clergy members: 

Rev. Ronald Vincent Gronowski

Rev. Ronald Vincent Gronowski was ordained by the Diocese of Saginaw in 1969 when he was 27 years old. He served as the associate pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in Bay City until 1971. Afterward, he worked at churches in both the Gaylord and Marquette Dioceses. 

In 2002, Fr. Gronowski resigned following news that he had been accused in 1995 of sexual misconduct with a teenager in the 1970s. He admitted to misbehavior and gave a public apology. The Gaylord Diocese identified him as being credibly accused of sexual misconduct in November 2018, and the Saginaw Diocese did so in April 2019. 

Rev. James Marron

Rev. James Marron served as a chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Bay City, Michigan, from 1968 to 1970. After several years working in Ferndale, Fr. Marron returned to Bay City and later passed away in 1987, shortly after retiring to Pennsylvania. 

In April 2019, the Saginaw Diocese identified Fr. Marron as a clergy member who faced credible allegations of having committed sexual abuse against a minor. The allegations were raised after his death.

R.D. Francis D. McHugh

Fr. Francis “Frank” McHugh was the assistant pastor at Saginaw Diocese, St. John Parish in Essexville, Michigan, from 1953 to 1962. He worked in Chicago and Montana before returning as pastor of St. John’s Essexville from 1971 to 1975. He then retired to St. Norbert Abbey, where he passed away in 1998 at age 85.

In the fall of 2018, investigations into personnel files revealed evidence that McHugh was likely involved in the sexual abuse of a minor during his initial period at the Essexville parish. In October 2022, his name also appeared on the Chicago Archdiocese’s list of priests believed to have committed sexual abuse. 

Rev. James Aloysius Mulvey

Rev. James Aloysius Mulvey was ordained in Grand Rapids in 1905. He served in parishes throughout Michigan, including Holy Family Parish in Saginaw. When the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was established in 1938, Fr. Mulvaney was among the first to join. He died in 1959 at age 79.

After his death, credible allegations arose that Fr. Mulvaney had committed sexual abuse of a minor. His name was included on the Saginaw diocese’s list of priests suspected of sexual abuse in April 2019. 

  • Fr. Martin Ignatius Kalahar
  • Fr. Neil Francis O’Connor
  • Fr. Thomas Wiliam Ryan
  • Fr. Raymond John Pilarski
  • Fr. Robert Gordon Smith
  • Fr. Joseph Szarek
  • Fr. Camillus Frigo
  • Fr. Richard Thomas Szafranski
  • Fr. Terrence Andrew Raymond
  • Fr. Stanislaus A. Bur
  • Fr. John E. Hammer
  • Fr. Richard L. Howard
  • Fr. Jack J. Leipert
  • Fr. Leonard F. Wilkuski

Compensation for Those Who Suffered Abuse from a Clergy Member

Criminal cases hold perpetrators accountable for crimes that harm society as a whole as well as individual survivors. In a civil lawsuit, the focus is entirely on the losses the individual survivor has suffered as a result of the abuse you endured.

A civil clergy sexual abuse lawsuit can compensate for harms and losses, such as:

  • Medical bills for treatment of physical and mental injuries, including therapy or counseling; 
  • Lost wages or loss of earnings capacity if the abuse or its effects prevented you from working and/or will in the future; 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and similar mental or emotional disorders, like anxiety and depression; 
  • Loss of enjoyment of everyday life activities; and 
  • Embarrassment, humiliation, or damage to your reputation in your community or church. 

Finally, speaking up about past abuse requires courage. When you speak up, you shine a light on terrible abuse that has remained hidden for too long. By speaking up, you have the power to stop this abuse from happening to others in the future, and giving other abuse survivors the courage to also speak up.  Each person who raises their voice lends their bravery to others, helping them to come forward as well.