Regarding recent abuse claims

Home > Newsroom > Regarding recent abuse claims

July 30, 2019

The Archdiocese of Detroit Communications Department shares the following statement in response to abuse claims made against a Detroit priest, other clergy members and a lay person who served in southeast Michigan:

Fr. Lawrence Tannous Fares

The Archdiocese of Detroit was made aware Tuesday, July 30 of an allegation of child sexual abuse against Fr. Lawrence Tannous Fares, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. We have no prior record of any allegation having been made against him.

We are always deeply grieved to learn about any allegations of clergy abuse, especially involving minors or vulnerable adults, and we do everything in our power to provide assistance to victims. Had this allegation been shared with the archdiocese in 2010, it would have been examined by our Review Board, and if deemed a substantive allegation (that is, having a semblance of truth), Fr. Fares’ ministry would have been restricted at that time. At this point, we will adhere to our practice of looking to local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office as to how to proceed.

Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374 or Individuals may also share the report with the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Victim Assistance Coordinator at (866) 343-8055 or

Fr. William Cahill, S.J.

Fr. William B. Cahill was a religious order priest with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) religious order who served as chaplain of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mount Clemens from 1972 to 1977. He died in 1986. His name was added to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s list of clergy credibly accused of abuse on January 16, 2019, following the Society’s release of names of their clergy credibly accused of abuse. As with all religious order priests, Fr. Cahill’s case was received, investigated and deemed a substantive allegation (that is, having a semblance of truth), by his religious order.

Fr. Dennis Mitchell, C.S.P.

Fr. John Dennis Mitchell was ordained in 1938 for the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (Paulist Fathers) and served from 1942-43 in campus ministry at Wayne State University in Detroit. He died in 1996. According to the Paulist Fathers, the abuse was alleged to have occurred in 1968 in Los Angeles and was reported in 1994. As with all religious order priests, Fr. Mitchell’s case was received, investigated and deemed a substantive allegation (that is, having a semblance of truth), by his religious order. The Archdiocese of Detroit has no record of any local allegations against him.

The Archdiocese of Detroit is working with the various religious orders in the area to ensure our list of clergy accused of abuse is as complete and accurate as possible. As this process continues, we will move to add Fr. Dennis Mitchell’s name to our list. Our list is continually updated as we receive new information from law enforcement, religious orders and members of the public.

Patricia Kulwicki

Ms. Patricia Kulwicki was a lay employee of Mercy High School in Farmington Hills for 19 years. She was not a Sister of Mercy, but left another religious order in 1973. She died in 1994. Allegations brought to the Archdiocese of Detroit involving religious order schools are turned over to the religious order for review.

Opus Bono Sacerdotii

The Archdiocese of Detroit reaffirms what previously was shared with the Associated Press: Opus Bono Sacerdotii has never been affiliated with or supported by the Archdiocese of Detroit. What follows is the full statement we provided the reporter in June:

"Archbishop Vigneron and his predecessor, Cardinal Adam Maida, understood the initiative to be an independent group of Catholic faithful laypersons committed to working with priests accused of clerical sexual abuse, principally by offering financial assistance. From its inception, the Archdiocese of Detroit considered OBS a de facto association; it did not manage, review, or financially support its operations. And anyone affiliated with OBS would do so of their own choosing and on their own time.
"Like they might do for any other autonomous Catholic organizations based in southeast Michigan, Church leadership and other members of the clergy did, on occasion, acknowledge the group’s work and appear in photos with members of OBS.
"In 2018, Michigan’s Attorney General cited OBS for '… a lack of board governance, no controls over expenses, unauthorized and excessive compensation, diversion of assets, breach of fiduciary duties, and deceptive solicitations.' As reported at that time, the Archdiocese had no oversight or official connection to OBS or its board. Members on that board were never appointed or approved by the Archdiocese."