FOUR MICHIGAN PRIESTS CHARGED IN SEX CRIMES
Taking advantage of a provision in Michigan's statute of limitations, authorities charged four Roman Catholic priests who once worked in the Detroit Archdiocese with sex abuse in cases dating back decades. None of the priests are still active, and all live in other states, which is the main reason prosecutors were able to charge them Tuesday. The charged priests are:
Robert Burkholder, 82, who lives on the island of Oahu, Hawaii;
Jason E. Sigler, 64, of New Mexico;
Harry Benjamin, 60, of Vienna, Virginia; and
Edward Olszewski, 67, of Key Largo, Florida.
Each man is accused of criminal sexual conduct involving a boy 14 and younger. Burkholder admitted in a 1993 letter to the archdiocese that he had molested 23 boys, going as far back as the 1940s - though he is charged in a case dating from the 1980s. Church spokesman Monsignor Walter Hurley said the archdiocese first became aware of the allegations against Burkholder in the 1960s. Burkholder was banned from wearing a Roman collar and presenting himself as a prist in 1993. Reached by telephone on Tuesday, Burkholder said he admitted to the misconduct in the 1940s and 1950s and went through a treatment program. He said he wasn't aware of the accusations from the 1980s. Benjamin was removed from the priesthood in 1992. Olszewski was serving in a parish in Key Largo, Florida. He also faced several allegations of sexual abuse while serving in the Archdiocese of Miami, which removed him from the ministry this spring. He has denied any wrongdoing.