Michigan Priest Who Wrapped Teen In Bubble Wrap Sentenced To 60 Days

WWJ News
January 27, 2020 - 11:46 am
Bubble Wrap

(WWJ/AP) A Michigan priest who wrapped a teenager in bubble wrap has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for attempted false imprisonment. 

The Rev. Brian Stanley appeared in Allegan County Circuit Court on Monday, two months after pleading guilty in a deal with Michigan Attorney General's Office. 

Stanley, 57, had faced a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.  

Brian Stanley
Rev. Brian Stanley (credit: Allegan County Sheriff's Office)
The priest was accused of wrapping a boy in plastic bubble wrap and masking tape in a janitor’s room at St. Margaret Church in 2013. The boy’s eyes and mouth were also covered while he was left bound and alone for an hour against his will, according to the AG, who initially charged Stanley with false imprisonment.

Stanley was supposed to be counseling the boy.

“Mr. Stanley took advantage of a vulnerable victim and today he is being held accountable,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. 

The priest didn't speak in court, but has expressed regret about his actions, defense attorney Michael Hills told The Associated Press.

“After this incident in 2013, he was in treatment,” Hills said. “After treatment, I think he realized perhaps he was projecting trauma that he had suffered in his life onto others.”

Stanley’s conduct was “sexually motivated,” prosecutors claimed; and, as a result, he will be placed on Michigan's public sex offender registry for 15 years.

"There’s a big dispute about that,” Hills said. “There is no evidence about it. I objected to Father Stanley being placed on the registry, although under the statute it’s required regardless of whether criminal sexual conduct is alleged.”

The case against Stanley began when investigators looked at documents held by the Catholic Diocese in Kalamazoo. The diocese has said it twice reported allegations about Stanley to police departments in 2013 and 2017, but no charges were filed at that time. 

Investigators have been following up on hundreds of tips that have been called into the AG’s clergy abuse hotline since the beginning of the year.  

Last fall, Nessel said the team looking into the allegations had identified more than 550 victims who named 270 priests as abusers. At that time, 130 cases were bring investigated or reviewed for potential charges.

As the investigation continues, Nessel said she expects many more charges to come as there could be hundreds, or possibly thousands, of victims of clergy abuse across Michigan.

“We continue to review information seized from all seven Michigan dioceses in 2018, and we will thoroughly evaluate accusations and complaints brought forth by victims," she said, in a news release Monday. "For too long, criminal behavior by members of the clergy has gone unnoticed, and that must stop.”  

Nessel urges anyone who was abused by clergy, or who has information about abuse, to call the tip line at 844-324-3374.