MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE Tuesday, April 3, 4:05 p.m.
Father Frank M. Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the Diocese of Marquette, who was recently placed on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual misconduct, has released a full statement to TV6 & FOX UP regarding the allegations. His statement is as follows:
"These charges come as a complete surprise to me. I was just told of them Monday (April 2) after Easter. Apparently the woman came to the Bishop's offices on Good Friday and accused me of terrible abuse committed against her about 45 years ago, while I was a young priest at St. Peter cathedral, and she was about 8 or 10 years old. I was told her name, both her maiden name and her married name, but I do not know who she is. Her accusations are horrible; I wish you had a copy of them. I was not allowed to have a copy of them, but I deny all her charges entirely and absolutely."
"None of it is a matter of interpretation or definition or misunderstanding; everything she accuses me of is false. I have been a priest in good standing in the U.P. for almost 49 years, and in all that time there has never been one, single charge of sexual misconduct against me involving any man, woman or child in all the parishes I have ever been in. I have been removed from all priestly functions, and have been barred from referring to myself in any way as a priest, or from performing any priestly duties in public. That breaks my heart."
"I am more grateful than I can tell you for the outspoken love and support offered me by so many people, from people who have known me for these 49 years; they and their children, and their children's children, reassure me that they know that none of this can be true. I am so grateful for their loving kindness; God is good. I look forward to being finally cleared of all these charges, though that will never repair my permanently damaged reputation in the eyes of many people who have never met me."
At the time of this update, no official charges have been filed against Lenz, but he is still on administrative leave from the Diocese of Marquette.
ORIGINAL STORY Monday, April 2, 1:39 p.m.
Father Frank M. Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the Diocese of Marquette, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. This action was taken as the result of a recently-made credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor dating back to the 1970s. Father Lenz has denied the allegation.
In accord with diocesan policy, the allegation has been reported to the Marquette County Prosecutor.
The diocese has extended an offer of pastoral care to the person bringing the allegation.
Father Lenz has been removed from all public priestly ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It should be noted that this is not a final determination of guilt. Administrative leave is a precautionary measure while a credible allegation is being investigated.
Bishop Doerfler said, “On behalf of the Catholic Church, I offer a sincere apology to all victims of clergy abuse. There is no excuse for what happened to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ’s peace and healing.”
Anyone who may have suffered sexual misconduct by clergy, a church worker or volunteer is encouraged by Bishop Doerfler to come forward to receive pastoral care leading toward healing.
To bring a complaint regarding the sexual abuse of minors to the attention of the diocese, call one of the victims’ assistance coordinators: Stephen Lynott at (844) 495-4330 or Diane Tryan at (844) 694-4362.
Those who wish to put their complaint in writing may direct their correspondence to: Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, c/o Catholic Social Services of the U.P., 1100 Ludington St., Suite 401, Escanaba, MI 49829. The letter should be marked “personal and confidential” and indicate whether a response is desired by phone or by letter.
The diocese will also help anyone bring their concerns to church officials outside the diocese if the sexual abuse occurred elsewhere and the person now resides in the Diocese of Marquette. If you are unsure about bringing a complaint or would like further information, Stephen Lynott or Diane Tryan may be contacted at the numbers above.
The diocese always encourages those bringing a complaint to report the incident to local civil authorities. The diocese reports all allegations to the appropriate civil authorities.
UPDATE: After the Diocese received several calls Monday afternoon, they have released more information regarding Lenz's assignment history, now listed below.
- Priesthood Ordination June 7, 1969
- 1969 Parochial Vicar Sacred Heart Munising
- 1973 Parochial Vicar St. Peter, Marquette
- 1975 Parochial Vicar St. Francis De Sales, Manistique with mission in Gulliver
- 1978 Pastor St. Andrew Nahma with missions in Cooks and Isabella
- 1982 Pastor St. Stanislaus Goeztville with mission in Hessel in addition the missions in DeTour and Drummond Island in 1983
- 1985 Graduate studies at Duquesne University Pittsburgh
- 1988 Chaplain Marquette General Hospital
- 2001 Pastor Holy Family Flat Rock
- 2007 Retired to Senior Priest status
Lenz is also currently listed as the President of the Rotary Club of Marquette on their website.