The activities of disgraced Diocesan priest Father Dennis Stilwell have members of the diocese asking a lot of questions: who else (besides Father Cowan) found out and knew about Father Stilwell and (unlike Father Cowan) did nothing? Over the years that diocesan sex offender James Holtz was providing ministry at St. Francis Church in Petoskey (including sacristan), a number of newly ordained priests spent time as associate pastors at St. Francis. Is it possible that the associate priests who have ministered at St. Francis were unaware of the inappropriateness of Father Holtz? Monsignor Francis Murphy was Vicar General of the Diocese from 2001 – 2016. Was he not aware of the situation regarding Holtz and the Petoskey parish? Gaylord Diocesan Watch has learned that in 2002, then Bishop Patrick Cooney met with all of the priests of the Diocese and formally notified them that James Holtz was ordered to be removed from ministry due to an allegation of sexual abuse. Therefore, all priests of the Diocese were made aware of the issue regarding Father Holtz. Did none of them know that Holtz was subsequently hired at St. Francis? Were none of the diocesan personnel aware of the visits from disgraced retired Bishop Robert Lynch (who paid over $80,000 in severance pay to his former communications director after allegations of sexual harassment) to St. Francis? Deacon Paul Fifer has been a parishioner at St. Francis and a minister there for years. How was he not aware of the problems with Holtz?
Bishop Raica was informed of the inappropriate situation with regard to Holtz in 2016 but nothing was done until 2017. Letters to Bishop Raica regarding concerns over Lynch from concerned faithful were unanswered. Why did Bishop Raica not act decisively when he was made aware of these situations?