Sunday, February 12, 2012

Michigan Pastor arrested for sexually assaulting fourteen year old girl

MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - An alleged sexual assault during a church pancake breakfast is sending shockwaves through the pews of St. Peter in Mt. Clemens. The Macomb County Sheriff says a 14-year-old girl claims a 19-year-old fellow parishioner sexually assaulted her in the church’s basement.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham says the two were involved in a relationship over the course of several months, but that it turned violent in December.

Wickersham says the alleged victim reported the incident to her school counselor, who then told the girl’s mother.

The fallout from the alleged sexual assault led the archdiocese to suspend the pastor of St. Peter. In a statement released Sunday night the archdiocese names the pastor – Father Michael Cooney. And while he is not suspected of any criminal wrongdoing, church officials are investigating whether he knew some type of sexual behavior was going on between the teens but didn’t report it.

The suspect, 19 year-old Michael Lentini, was arrested and arraigned on criminal sexual conduct charges on Friday. He could spend 10 years in prison if he’s found guilty.

The archdiocese is not releasing a timeline as to when their investigation of Cooney will be complete.

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