Transcribed Recording of a Statement Read by Father Dennis Stilwell

Immediately prior to the 10 AM Mass

St. Francis Xavier Church

Petoskey, MI

February 10, 2019

Good morning everybody. Many of you have heard what is going on in the media these days. And so, uh, I have prepared a statement that will be read at all of the masses here and will be read at all of the masses in Boyne so that we make take care it at once and passed by the bishop and he has approved of it.

This references the sexual allegation made against me by Fr. Matthew Cowan. So there are three important things up here that need to be said. Probably the first and most important to be said is that I denied any allegations of sexual misconduct. I work very hard to be a man of integrity. I have mentored, uh, 18 new priests and almost a dozen, uh, seminarians, uh, and interns over the years. And, uh, I have never been accused of anything. I guess what my mom always said was true that those who know you know the truth.

Second, there are processes that the diocese uses in investigating allegations of misconduct. Independent experts in investigation of misconduct allegations do due diligence to do their job and report their findings to the review board. They are also independent on anything from the bishop. The process is in the highest integrity. Neither the bishop nor anyone on his staff are involved in the review of the allegations.

A highly important thing I want to say to you is that, uh, your prayers are pretty much needed for me, for Father Matthew Cowan, and for our bishop. And also very real for all of us is that this has been very heartbreaking for all of us. It’s not just me, but for all of us. So let us keep the faith, not lose heart, and God bless all of you for all your support you have given me. Let me tell you, this was one hellish week, but, uh, your support and your prayers, I believe, have virtually saved my life. Thank you very much.