Sexual assault charges filed against a one-time priest who began his career in Livingston County have been dropped.
70-year-old Timothy Michael Crowley had been charged in May by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office with eight felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. But in Washtenaw County District Court Monday, an order was entered dismissing all eight counts after the judge determined the statute of limitations had expired on the case.
Crowley began his priesthood at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton in 1979 as an assistant chaplain before he moved a year later to a Flint parish. In June 1982 he transferred to a parish in Jackson, where the abuse is alleged to have begun involving a 10-year-old altar boy and continued until he admitted his actions to church leaders in 1993. After spending two years in a treatment program for priests, Crowley took a position with the diocese in Anchorage, Alaska. But he was removed from that position after his name was released in 2002 as part of a “zero-tolerance” policy adopted by American bishops. He was eventually defrocked in 2015.
While there is no evidence Crowley committed abuse while he worked in Brighton, St. Pat’s pastor, the Rev. Mathias Thelen, told WHMI in June that it was “disturbing” a perpetrator of such crimes was at the parish “no matter how long ago it happened” and was glad Crowley was being brought to justice.
In response to the dismissal of the charges, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, said they would be appealing the judge’s decision. (JK)