Coldwater priest pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

Posted at 3:49 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 17:43:02-05

ALLEGAN, Mich. — A priest accused of tying up a teenage boy in the janitor’s room at an Otsego church has pleaded guilty to a charge connected with the incident.

Brian Stanley, 57, entered the plea Wednesday on a charge of attempted false imprisonment. He is facing up to five years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

He was charged in August amid Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation of clergy abuse.

Police documents say an unnamed victim told investigators that he would tightly wrap then in saran wrap and gauze over the course of two years.

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo said they received complaints and reported them to Child Protective Services and police, but charges were never filed until Nessel’s statewide investigation.

On Wednesday, the diocese released a statement on his sentencing:

“The Diocese of Kalamazoo learned this afternoon that Fr. Brian Stanley, who has been and remains on administrative leave from active ministry since January of 2017, pleaded guilty to one felony count of Attempted False Imprisonment. The incident referenced was reported to the Diocese in 2013, and was promptly reported to Child Protective Services, which referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department for investigation. We continue to cooperate with the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Michigan throughout its ongoing investigation.

We continue to pray for all victims and remain steadfast in our commitment to promote greater protection and safeguards of all people, particularly for children and vulnerable adults.”

“Mr. Stanley’s decision to plead guilty to attempted false imprisonment ensures that he will be held accountable for the pain and suffering he has caused,” Nessel said in a release. “His guilty plea marks the second conviction in our aggressive pursuit of justice for all those who have been victimized by priests or members of the clergy.

“Our department remains steadfast in its commitment to bringing a swift end to an era of abuse that has hidden in plain sight for too long.”

Stanley will be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2020.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, another priest was sentenced to 45 days in jail for coercing a man who came to him for counseling into performing sexual acts.