Priest removed from Lansing for alleged sexual assault served in Kalamazoo, Portage

Priest removed from Lansing for alleged sexual assault served in Kalamazoo, Portage

Diocese: Priest accused of sex crime served in Kzoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Diocese of Kalamazoo is asking any possible victims of an incardinated priest that once served in the Kalamazoo area to contact police.

The Diocese of Lansing said it removed Rev. Robert Gerl’s priestly permissions last week, based on a “credible” allegation of sexual assault involving an adult male decades ago.

Before moving to the Lansing area, Gerl served in the Diocese of Kalamazoo at Nazareth College from 1986 to 1991; St. Thomas More Parish in Kalamazoo from 1997 to 2000; and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage from 2000 to 2009.

He worked at Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan County from 2000-2001, school for people with special needs that serves students from pre-school through age 26. After leaving the school, Gerl worked as a special education supervisor for the Branch Intermediate School District until 2015.

Officials at both agencies say he passed a background check when applying for the positions, and that his personnel files don't indicate any problems.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo says Gerl also regularly celebrated masses at other parishes on a temporary weekend basis.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo said Thursday Gerl does not have faculties for pastoral ministry with its diocese.

Gerl’s case comes weeks after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced he is investigating sexual abuse allegations and potential coverups involving all seven of Michigan’s dioceses, dating as far back as 1950. Schuette’s office executed search warrants at all of the dioceses last week.

The Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids previously identified 14 priests who molested children since the 1950s, but none since the early 2000s.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo says victims of Gerl can also contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Deacon Pat Hall at 877.802.0115.

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KALAMAZOO, MI — A Catholic priest suspended after a “credible allegation” of sexual assault previously worked in Kalamazoo.

The Rev. Robert Gerl, a senior priest in the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, was barred from public ministry due to the allegation which alleges the assault of a male several decades ago, the diocese announced Oct. 5.

Gerl served in the Diocese of Kalamazoo at Nazareth College from 1986 to 1991, at St. Thomas More Parish in Kalamazoo from 1997 to 2000 and at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage from 2000 to 2009. Gerl regularly celebrated Masses at a number of other parishes on a temporary weekend basis.

Michigan State Police have seized Gerls file as part of Attorney General Bill Schuettes investigation into possible sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Michigan, the Associated Press reported.  

As part of the suspension, Gerl will not be allowed to preside over mass, hear confessions, witness marriages or baptisms or anoint the sick or dying.

In a statement issued Thursday, Oct. 11, the Diocese of Kalamazoo asked anyone who has been harmed by Gerl or anyone representing the church to contact law enforcement. A Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Deacon Pat Hall, is also available at (877) 802-0115.


Posted in Lansing