Police search Michigan bishop’s home, citing lack of cooperation in sex abuse investigation

If there is nothing to hide they should have fully cooperated instead of making them get search warrants and raiding these places which makes it look even worse.


If they searched the diocesan archives (which is the only reason I can see for searching the chancery) then the bishop should forcefully condemn this outrageous violation of libertas ecclesiae.

It does no good to not contest such a violation of the Church’s rights, as such silence will make many people assume the state must have been acting rightly.

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The story says they searched “Bishop Cistone’s home as well as on the rectory of the diocesan cathedral and on the diocesan offices.” Nothing about the archives.

The bishop said they did. The prosecutor said they didn’t.

It looks bad only if one assumes the bishop is a liar. I believe somewhere in the middle will be shown to be true, that the diocese did cooperate, just not as quick and in every way the prosecutor demanded. Remember, district attorneys are not some sort of Judge Dredd. They are only prosecutors, not the law.

Besides, why would police be allowed to take Church records and electronics into their custody without a search warrant in the first place? The purpose of search warrants in the first place is assuring that there is probable cause and police or some DA is prosecuting, not persecuting.


I’m no legal eagle, but I think the search warrant has something to do with preventing any diocesan official from destroying evidence. The first or second statement the bishop (who is undergoing treatment for lung cancer - radiation and chemotherapy) made was a denial of any knowledge of wrongdoing by the priest who was arrested. That statement was modified later to reflect that an allegation had been made long ago, like 20 years against the priest, which facts were contained in a diocesan file. It sort of tramples on the first statement which included a denial and a pledge of full cooperation with the police investigation.

The Michigan State Police already had probable cause to arrest the priest, who had been under surveillance for months. Apparently some 30 other allegations against him and/or other clergy have been submitted to the police. Undoubtedly, the “evidence” will be challenged, if and when things go to trial. Publicly the police have said that other clergy may be under investigation.

In my parish the pastor has stated that parishioners are saddened and angry about what’s going on. Neither the Bishop nor the diocesan “communications director” have been available to the media for comment.

There are layers of issues here. In a large sense, the Church exists for the reconciliation of all people individually to Christ – all are welcome (in theory). But, at the same time, the priests and bishops have to “police” themselves for the good of the whole Church. Locally, this news has been shattering and it cripples the whole idea of evangelization. 3/4 of people in Michigan have NO church affiliation.

Hmm. Now does that mean that the priest was not currently a sex offender, or that the police are exempt from reporting child abuse, and saving children from currently being abuse, to get the arrest and conviction?

It means they need to acquire evidence to arrest and convict.

Oh no, you should never let the police search anything without a warrant. You should never talk to the police either. The police aren’t out for justice. They are out for convictions. Just because you think you are innocent doesn’t mean you are. Just because you actually are innocent doesn’t mean you won’t be charged and found guilty of a crime.

Gee, you need to move. Your view of the police is terrible. I assure you this stereotype you have developed is far from universal.

My view is accurate. Experience with the legal system will give you this accurate view. Heck just getting arrested will if they read you your rights. They actually will say, ‘anything you say can and will be used against you’.

I do not know how long you have been in law enforcement, but to say your view is accurate, you would need vast experience and data. I believe your opinion as errant as those who believe police can do no wrong, all attorneys are low-life cheats, and all who commit crimes should be written off for the rest of their life.

I am not nor have I been in law enforcement. Police gather evidence of your guilt. That is what they do. I am not saying they are bad people because of that. I am saying that is an excellent reason to not consent to searches or to talk to them.

That is one of the absolute, smallest part of their job. Their first job is public safety. For instance, no police man I have ever know has ever put anyone at risk even slightly to “gather evidence.”

Note the example of the bishops. The spoke to the police and say they have fully cooperated with them.

The police are always gathering evidence. By always I don’t mean they don’t take time out to eat or use the bathroom. I do mean when you interact with them they are gathering evidence even if you don’t think so. I’d say their first job is to enforce the rules of the government. That is why they spend so much time pulling people over for things like not wearing a seat belt. Turns out public safety and things you can get fined for are highly correlated.

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