New Details on Investigation into Northern Michigan Priest Released Friday

New details have been released about an investigation into a northern Michigan priest.

Michigan’s Attorney General started investigating Father Bryan Medlin in late 2021 after the Diocese of Gaylord told them that Father Medlin had allegedly sent inappropriate messages to high school students.

Documents released Friday include interviews between students and staff at St. Mary’s in Lake Leelanau and St. Francis High School in Traverse City. Those interviews outline the bullying, foul language and inappropriate comments Medlin is accused of making.

While the Diocese says they learned of the allegations in late 2021, the documents show the Attorney General raised concerns in 2019.

A letter reportedly sent by the Attorney General claims that Medlin used profanity and made inappropriate sexual comments around students. It also says Medlin disclosed what students said during confession, which is not allowed by the Catholic Church.

Medlin was later moved from Saint Mary Lake Leelanau to the Cross of the Woods Shrine in Indian River, where he was serving as Pastor when the allegations surfaced.

The investigation by the Attorney General started after the Diocese was told about inappropriate text messages sent by Medlin to a group of high school students.

Documents show Michigan State Police interviewed a number of students, who told them Medlin would make a few sexual comments to some of the boys about how good some of the girls bodies looked.

Investigators also say Medlin would make comments on how he would date certain girls if he was their age.

Students told investigators Medlin would act like a friend, get close to them and be “one of the boys,” including being in a group chat with the students.

One of the girls interviewed told investigators everyone knew Medlin was like this, and nothing would ever change. All felt Medlin seemed to make the inappropriate comments as a way to try to be cool and one of the guys.

Michigan State Police also obtained text messages showing Medlin making racially insensitive and sexual comments about Muslims after a wedding.

The Attorney General’s Office says Medlin’s actions do not meet the threshold of criminal behavior.

The Diocese says Medlin will remain on leave while they conduct an internal review.