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Former Metro Priest Accused of Molestation

Minister placed on leave over allegations of past abuse, archdiocese says

Jul 4, 2003 | The Detroit News

The Archdiocese of Detroit on Thursday announced a former Metro Detroit priest has been placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced that he molested one of his young parishioners.

The Rev. Brian Bjorklund, 63, allegedly abused a minor while he was ministering in Metro Detroit during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The Archdiocese of Detroit will not release when or where the alleged abuse took place.

"We don't release that information," spokesman Ned McGrath said. "That's to protect the privacy of the people who come forward with allegations like this. We want to do everything we can to protect their identities."

Bjorklund has not been assigned to any Metro Detroit churches since 1988. He was most recently ministering as a U.S. Navy Chaplain at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, Calif., before being placed on leave June 30.

Bjorklund served as associate pastor at St. Linus Parish in Dearborn Heights from 1969-71, and served in the same capacity at St. Andrew Parish in Rochester from 1971-74. He was the campus minister at Oakland University from 1974-83; and from 1984-88, he was the pastor at St. Timothy Parish in Trenton.

He left Metro Detroit in 1988 to serve as a Navy Chaplain.

Within the past year, five Archdiocese of Detroit priests have been charged with sexual assaults that occurred much earlier in their careers. Another 26 local priests would have faced prosecution if not for legal time limits. Of the 26, all but three had retired from the priesthood or had already been removed from public ministry.

The allegations against Bjorklund surfaced this past winter, McGrath said.

"Somebody came to us and said he'd been abused," McGrath said. "We immediately forwarded the allegations to the Wayne County Prosecutors Office."

But prosecutors declined to investigate the case because the 15-year statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases had passed, McGrath said. Phone calls to the Wayne County Prosecutors office Thursday afternoon were not returned.

"We did our own investigation and determined there was merit to the allegations," McGrath said. "So we placed Father Bjorklund on administrative leave until we can conduct a more thorough investigation."

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