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Tuesday, August 27, 2002



4 priests charged
in old sex cases,
1 retired here


Star-Bulletin staff and news services

Four Roman Catholic priests who formerly worked in the Archdiocese of Detroit have been charged with criminal sexual conduct in cases that date from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Wayne County prosecutor said today.

One of the four priest, Robert Burkholder, 83, retired to Honolulu and lives in Makaha.

Burkholder, reached this morning in his Waianae home, admitted to sexually assaulting 23 boys in the 1950s and 1960s. However, he said he has not sexually assaulted anyone since then.

"Hey, I've been a good boy for quite a few years. And all this is coming up now. It's kind of ridiculous. People are always looking for an angle they can profit from, and that's what this is, I'm afraid," he said

Honolulu diocese spokesman Patrick Downes said today that Burkholder was never employed as a priest by the Hawaii Diocese. But there is a church record showing that he worked as a priest at Schofield Barracks under contract with the U.S. Army in the early 1980s.

Burkholder said Detroit authorities have not called him.

Burkholder faces two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct from allegations he assaulted a 13-year-old boy at St. Roberts Parish in Redford Township in the mid-1980s.

Burkholder served from 1947 until he took a leave of absence in 1993. That year, he gave a written statement to the archdiocese admitting that he assaulted 23 boys, Duggan said.

Mike Duggan, the Wayne County prosecutor, said, "The magnitude of (the Mainland cases) is astonishing.

The priests are eligible to be charged because they left Michigan before the statute of limitations ran out, he said. The most recent cases allegedly took place in the mid-1980s.



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