Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Defrocked priest pleads guilty to assault charge

Patrick Casey, a former priest who served in both Canton Township and Westland, will be sentenced on charges of misdemeanor aggravated assault on Nov. 20 in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Casey, 56, entered a guilty plea as a jury deliberated his guilt on charges of third-degree criminal sexual assault. His plea to the lesser charge ended jury involvement in the case. Casey was accused by a man who claimed that he and the defrocked priest had a sexual encounter on Jan. 17, 2013.
The accuser said he sought the rite of confession from Casey who agreed to meet with him at the former St. Theodore of Canterbury Church in Westland. The man, who is gay, claimed that he and Casey engaged in sexual acts at that meeting.
Had Casey been convicted by the jury of the more serious charge, he faced 15 years in prison. His confession to the lesser charge will subject him to a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison. He was one of five former priests charged with 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct in May by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Attorney Stephen Rabaut represented Casey at the trial and acknowledged the friendship between his client and the accuser, but he characterized their meetings as instigated by the complainant and said they met every three weeks in early 2012. Rabaut said the sexual encounter was consensual in nature and Casey admitted to the sexual acts.
Prosecuting Attorney Danielle Joyce Hagaman-Clark argued that the case was about coercion. 
Casey, who served at St. Thomas A Becket Catholic Church in Canton prior to moving to St. Theodore's, was dismissed from the clerical state and stripped of all priestly duties by the Archdiocese on Aug. 1, 2018.
He will learn his sentence Nov. 20.