GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Catholic priest who served for decades at parishes across West Michigan has been removed over what the church says are "credible" allegations of sexual abuse.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids announced Friday that Pope Francis removed retired priest William Langlois from the clerical state. Langlois most recently served as Pastor of St. Patrick - St. Anthony Parish in Grand Haven from 1996 to 2006.
In 2018, a person contacted the Diocese, claiming Langlois committed acts of sexual abuse from 1999 to 2006, when the alleged victim was a minor and young adult. The Diocese contacted local authorities to begin an investigation into the allegations.
Langlois, who was granted retirement under the title of Senior Pastor in 2016, was restricted from performing any kind of public ministry once the claim was made.
A review board for the Diocese of Grand Rapids handled the internal investigation into Langlois, and reported to Bishop Walkowiak the allegations were credible. Those findings were sent to the Vatican for a final ruling.
Now Langlois will not be allowed to present himself as a priest, wear clerical dress, or celebrate the sacraments.
“It takes courage for survivors to share their story. I am appreciative this survivor came forward and I hope that this announcement will aid in the healing process,” Bishop Walkowiak said in a statement. “As Bishop, I renew my profound apologies to all those who have suffered abuse in the Church. I continue my prayers and support for their recovery and healing.”
Langois was ordained on February 24, 1974, and served at St. Stephen Parish in East Grand Rapids, St. Jude Parish in Grand Rapids, St. Michael Parish in Coopersville, and as Chaplain at Blodgett and Butterworth hospitals before his time in Grand Haven.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office has a hotline to report sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church at 844-324-3374.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids also has a victim assistance coordinator available. Contact them by phone at 616-840-2079, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail:
Diocese of Grand Rapids - Cathedral Square Center
Attn: Victim Assistance Coordinator
360 Division Ave. S.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503