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Diocese – Former U.P. Priest Abuse Allegations “Credible”


Officials of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette say allegations that a long-time Upper Peninsula priest sexually abused boys are “credible.” Father James Menapace served parishes in the central and eastern U.P. from 1963 through 1996, when he retired. Incidents that have been reported to the Diocese took place after his retirement. Bishop John Doerfler determined that evidence presented to the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People was compelling enough issue a public announcement. That evidence has also been turned over to law enforcement authorities. The Diocese is asking anyone who may have been abused by Menapace to let them know. Contact information is included in the full Diocesan press release below.

From the Catholic Diocese of Marquette – Officials of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette have deemed credible allegations of sexual abuse of male minors against Father James Menapace (pronounced MEN-uh-PAH-chee). The reported incidents occurred in the late 1990s after Father Menapace had retired from active ministry.

After consultation with the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop John Doerfler determined that a public announcement of the allegations should be made. Father Menapace has been removed from all public priestly ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The diocesan attorney has reported the allegations to the appropriate civil authorities.

Bishop Doerfler said, “To all victims of clergy sexual abuse, let me say that my heart is open to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ’s peace and healing.”

To bring a complaint to the attention of the diocese, please call one of the Victim’s Assistance Coordinators, Stephen Lynott at 844-495-4330 or Diane Tryan at 844-694-4362. Both phone numbers are toll-free.

Those who wish to put their complaint in writing can direct their correspondence to: Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, c/o Catholic Social Services of the U.P., 1100 Ludington St., Suite 401, Escanaba, MI 49829. The letter should be marked “Personal and Confidential” and indicate whether a response is desired by phone or by letter.

The diocese always encourages those bringing a complaint to report the incident to local civil authorities. The diocese reports all allegations to the appropriate civil authorities.

Father Menapace’s biographical information:
1963: Ordination to the priesthood
1963: Assistant Pastor, St. Michael Parish, Marquette
1965: Assistant Pastor, Holy Name of Mary Parish, Sault Ste. Marie
Summer School, Northern Michigan College, Marquette
Chaplain, Newman Club, Lake Superior State College, Sault Ste. Marie
1967: Full-time Chaplain, Newman Center, Lake Superior State College, Sault Ste. Marie
Pastor, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Brimley
1971: Co-chaplain, Newman Apostolate, Northern Michigan University, Marquette
1979: Pastor, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Manistique and Divine Infant of Prague Mission, Gulliver
1996: Senior Priest Status (Retirement from active ministry)

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