GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Victims of local pedophile Catholic priests on Friday welcomed the Michigan attorney general investigation into decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups at the state’s seven dioceses.
"It's time. The time is up for the Catholic Church," said William McAlary, 73, of Belmont. "It's time everybody in this country knew what was going on behind the closed doors, and not just the victims."
McAlary said he was an altar boy, just 12, when his priest molested him in 1958 at the boy's family home in Ionia.
"I was sound asleep, I wake up and he's molesting me in bed, and he was kneeling next to my bed," McAlary said.
He said he didn't report it to the church until more than 30 years later.
"Because it was trauma. I mentally blocked it for years," he said.
The priest, Father Stanislaus Bur, was later moved across the state and has since died.
Bur was one of 14 priests identified as child molesters in the Diocese of Grand Rapids dating to the 1950s.
Four have died, one was deported, and the rest are either retired, were dismissed or no longer are allowed to present themselves as priests, according to the diocese.
The diocese spent more than $1 million in settlements and counseling for victims through 2002, but refuses to say how much it has spent since.
It says it hasn't received a new allegation since 2002, and has set up programs to prevent and report abuse.
As for the AG's investigation, Bur hopes it will lead to a full reckoning -- revealing all pedophile priests and encouraging victims.
"All victims please come forward and make yourself known so we can see the depth of this abuse," McAlary said.
One of six known victims of another pedophile priest, Father Dennis Wagner, didn't want to be identified. He said he wants to forget the past and wasn't sure he would cooperate with an investigation.
He was 13 and living in Coopersville in 1983 when Wagner molested him repeatedly while inner-tubing in Muskegon County, according to court records and police reports.