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Catholic Priest Placed On Leave

Feb 3, 2002 | AP A Roman Catholic priest has been placed on leave after a church review board determined an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor was substantive, the Archdiocese of Detroit announced yesterday.

Fr. James Wysocki, 62, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Marine City and administrator of St. Mark Parish on Harsens Island, was placed on leave and restricted from public ministry effective Saturday, the diocese said in a statement.

The Archdiocesan Review Board determined the allegation of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place in the early years of his ministry was substantive.

A message was left yesterday seeking comment from Wysocki, who the archdiocese said has been cooperative.

Church officials said the allegation was brought to their attention "several years ago," but the archdiocese initially didn't have enough information to proceed with action.

"In the spring of 2002, the information involving Fr. Wysocki was shared with civil authorities, who chose, because of the passage of time, not to investigate the allegation further," the archdiocese said in a statement. "Subsequently, the Archdiocesan Review Board commissioned an investigation."

In April, the church officials agreed to provide prosecutors in the six-county archdiocese with reports of alleged sexual abuse or sexual misconduct dating back 15 years. Officials weren't able to seek charges in many cases because of statute of limitations issues.

Wysocki was ordained in 1967 and began his career as a priest as associate pastor at St. Michael Parish in Pontiac; in 1972, he took on additional responsibility as chaplain and counselor at Pontiac Catholic High School.

In 1977, he became pastor of St. Mary Queen of Creation Parish in New Baltimore.

Including Wysocki, at least 32 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed, suspended or have left their duties since Jan. 1, 2002, amid sexual abuse or misconduct allegations. Some of the cases are under review. At least 19 of the cases involved a minor.

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