Former Branch County Priests Not Allowed To Work With Children
Thursday, April 18, 2024

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Two former Branch County priests are on a list of individuals who are disqualified from working or volunteering with children or youth.

In a posting on their website, the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo announced that Father Richard Fritz of Lakeport and Father Brian Stanley of Coloma, are among 17 people who are no longer allowed to work with or volunteer with children or youth in a Diocese of Kalamazoo parish, school agency, institution or any other Catholic entity that is located within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

In addition, any priests on the list are also forbidden from engaging in public ministry.

Fritz was the Priest at St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Bronson from 1990 until 2016. Fritz was investigated on charges of embezzlement from St. Mary’s and from St. Barbara Mission in Colon, after an independent accounting firm found irregularities connected to inappropriate checks written between 2010 and Fritz’s resignation in 2016. The charges were ultimately dismissed.

In 2020, Fritz was investigated after charges of sexual abuse were raised against the Priest that allegedly happened from the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s.

Stanley was the Priest at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Coldwater and Our Lady of Fatima in Union City from 1996 to 2006. He plead guilty in 2019 to attempted false imprisonment following an incident with a teen at St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego.

In 2017, an investigation was conducted by the Coldwater Police, but no further action was taken as the alleged victim didn’t wish to press charges.

The announcement by the Diocese was done prior to an announcement coming this spring by the Michigan Attorney General on their investigation of the Diocese of Kalamazoo.