U.S. priest jailed after bubble-wrapping teen boy

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A Michigan priest was sentenced to 60 days in jail for attempted false imprisonment after being accused of encasing a teen boy in bubble wrap.

In 2013, Reverend Brian Stanley was accused of enclosing the boy in bubble wrap and tape in a janitor’s room at St. Margaret Church in Allegan County.

The teenager’s mouth and eyes were covered and he was left alone for an hour, the attorney general’s office said, according to the Associated Press.

Stanley, who pleaded guilty to the crime, was meant to be counselling the boy.

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

Stanley reportedly entered treatment shortly after the incident, defence attorney Michael Hills told AP.

“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.”

While Stanley will only spend two months in jail, he will be placed on a public registry for 15 years, given his conduct was “sexually motivated,” the attorney general’s office claimed.

He will also be placed on probation for five years.

The priest did not speak while appearing in court, but Hills said there’s a “big dispute” about whether or not his crimes were of a sexual nature.

“There is no evidence about it,” Hills told AP. “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.”

Apparently, the Archdiocese of Kalamazoo twice reported allegations against Stanley to police in 2013 and 2017. No charges were filed.

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“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,” Nessel said.

“For too long, criminal behaviour by members of the clergy has gone unnoticed, and that must stop.”

— With files from the Associated Press

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meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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