DETROIT – Allegations of past sexual abuse of minors have led the Archdiocese of Detroit to remove a retired priest from any public ministry.
Robert Witkowski, 83, was added Tuesday to the Archdiocese's list of clergy credibly accused of abuse. He has served in various roles for more than 50 years at churches all across the area.
The Archdiocese is taking action against Witkowski. He is facing more than one allegation of sexual abuse from his early days in ministry. The Archdiocese is calling the allegations credible and banned Witkowski from public ministry for the time being.
"The Archdiocese has to do something to try and contain this problem," Ron Dawson, a concerned parishioner said.
Dawson is a member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Utica, which is one of several churches where Witkowski served before his retirement in 2013.
"It's very disturbing to think that it could happen anywhere, anytime," Dawson said.
Witkowski's case was sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for a review. It was subsequently denied because the allegations are from too long ago, past the statute of limitations.
Dawson hopes the Archdiocese will keep the investigation going.
"Hopefully they will get to the bottom of it and be able to deter some of this behavior, it is very said," he said.
Anyone who has been abused should contact police.
Witkowski was ordained in 1961 and retired in 2013. He served in parishes as an associate pastor, a pastor and an administrator during those years.
- 1991 - 2013: St. Edmund, Warren (later merged with St. Sylvester Parish to form St. Faustina Parish)
- 1985 - 1991: St. Raymond, Detroit
- 1981 - 1985: St. Lawrence, Utica
- 1980 - 1981: Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods
- 1976 - 1980: St. Mary Magdalen, Melvindale
- 1969 - 1975: Herman Kiefer/Detroit Osteopathic Hospitals, Detroit
- 1966 - 1969: Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Detroit
- 1961 - 1966: St. Matthew, Detroit