Diocese of Lansing: Abuse allegations against late Bishop James Sullivan are credible

James Sullivan died in 2006

Bishop James Sullivan (1929 - 2006). (The Diocese of Lansing)

LANSING, Mich. – The Diocese of Lansing said that two allegations of sexual abuse against Bishop James Sullivan are credible.

Sullivan was Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing from 1972 to 1985 before becoming Bishop of Fargo in North Dakota from 1985 to 2002. Sullivan died in 2006.

The accusations against Sullivan were from the 1960s when Sullivan was living in Lansing. Both survivors were boys who the Diocese of Lansing said were “subject to sexual grooming and inappropriate contact by Sullivan.”

The Diocese of Lansing launched an investigation into allegations against Sullivan in July 2020 after receiving an allegation of abuse against him from the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

A private investigator led the investigation and a second survivor stepped forward with a similar allegation against Sullivan, the Diocese of Lansing said. The results of the investigation were sent to the Diocese of Lansing Review Board.

The review board decided the allegations against Sullivan appear to be true, according to William Bloomfield, General Counsel of the Diocese of Lansing.

The first survivor said he was 12 years old in 1964 when Sullivan touched him inappropriately and subjected him to uninvited sexualized conversations. The abuse continued for two years, according to the Diocese of Lansing.

Diocese of Lansing said the second survivor was 11 to 12 years old in 1966 when Sullivan inappropriately touched him.

The incidents happened at the Church of the Resurrection Parish in Lansing, which is where Sullivan lived at the time.

The Diocese of Lansing received an allegation against Sullivan in 2002. That allegation was deemed “not credible” by the church. The Diocese asked a private investigator and review board to reconsider that allegation and the board decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine if the allegation was true or false.

You can click here to submit Catholic church clergy abuse information to the Michigan Attorney General.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.