A northern Michigan priest will remain on administrative leave following an investigation by the Diocese of Gaylord.
The Michigan Attorney General’s office began investigating Father Bryan Medlin in late 2021 after the Diocese of Gaylord reported that Medlin had allegedly sent Father Medlin was placed on leave during the civil investigation and an internal canonical investigation by the diocese. The Attorney General’s office chose not to charge Medlin, saying his actions do not meet the threshold of criminal conduct.
Following diocese’s internal investigation, it found that Father Medlin had violated the diocesan Safe Environment Policy, including its standards of conduct as set out in the Protocols for Ministry to Minors. As a result, he will remain indefinitely on administrative leave with ongoing monitoring by the diocese, and he is prohibited from public ministry and presenting himself as a priest. In addition, there will be ongoing consideration of further canonical proceedings.
The Most Reverend Jeffrey J. Walsh, bishop of Gaylord, released the following statement Friday:
“To keep children and the most vulnerable within our care safe, the diocese has wide-ranging protocols that must be followed by all those serving in any ministerial capacity. These standards of conduct are straightforward regarding what constitutes inappropriate behavior by an adult to a minor and what requirements are in place for an adult to interact with a minor(s) via electronic means. In this matter involving Father Medlin, it is evident that the electronic messages Father Medlin sent to high school students clearly violate diocesan policy. The content of these messages is deeply disturbing and offensive, and in no way reflects our Catholic beliefs and values.
“The safety of those we serve is at the very core of what we do as servants of Christ, and it is our duty to ensure that misconduct is handled swiftly and appropriately. We are grateful to the students and teacher who brought this complaint forward so it could be addressed, and to school administrators and other pastoral staff who handled the complaint with quick action and professionalism. The diocese also extends its gratitude to the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan State Police for their civil investigation, and to the many who assisted with the internal church investigation over these past few months. We will continue to do everything possible to keep our young people safe and provide pastoral support to those who have been harmed.”
The diocese encourages that any allegation of inappropriate conduct, harassment or abuse by someone in the Church be reported to the Michigan Department of Attorney General at 844-324-3374 or to local law enforcement. Reports are also encouraged to be made to Church authorities by contacting the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Larry LaCross at 989-705-9010.
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