Case against former Shelby Township priest moving ahead with additional charge

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 18, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Oct. 12 that a former Macomb County priest is facing trial for criminal sexual assault.

On that day, a judge decided that enough probable cause exists to advance charges against Neil Kalina, 66, to Macomb County Circuit Court. Kalina has since waived his arraignment in Circuit Court, and his next pretrial conference is set for Jan. 18, 2022, in Judge Diane M. Druzinski’s courtroom.

Kalina was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township from 1982 to 1985. The Department of Attorney General has accused Kalina of engaging in criminal sexual conduct in the 1980s in the rectory with a boy who was between the ages of 12 and 14 at the time.

In May 2019, Kalina was originally charged and arrested in Littlerock, California. The Department of Attorney General said that case has since been reissued to include first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Kalina faces two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child between 13 but less than 16 years of age, which are felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He also faces one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child between 13 but less than 16, which is a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

The Department of Attorney General said in a press release that it had charged a second case last year, but it was dismissed at the preliminary examination “because the survivor is unable to proceed with the prosecution at this time.”

Kalina’s attorney declined to comment on matters in litigation.

According to a 2019 press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit, Kalina was ordained in 1981 for the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, which is a religious order that operates separately from the Archdiocese of Detroit, and granted faculties in 1984. He was a resident at St. Kieran Parish in Utica from 1984 to 1986 and a weekend assistant at St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights from 1984 to 1986, according to the press release. He left active ministry in 1993, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit.

A complaint sworn to by Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Rick Lutz May 23, 2019, states that between 1982 and 1984, a boy who was between the ages of 12 and 14 had spent time with Kalina, who was a pastor at St. Kieran, and on several occasions Kalina provided the boy with alcohol and drugs, including powder cocaine and marijuana, which the boy ingested.

Allegedly, on at least four occasions, the boy spent the night with Kalina in the rectory at the church, and on each occasion, Kalina provided the boy with cocaine or marijuana, which the boy ingested, according to the complaint.

Allegedly, on at least two occasions when the boy was 12, the boy woke up to find Kalina’s hands down the boy’s pants, fondling his genitals, according to the complaint. The complaint further states that on at least two other occasions, when the boy was 13 or 14 years old, he awoke to discover Kalina’s hands down his pants.

The 2019 complaint states that Kalina left Michigan in approximately 1985 and moved to California, where he was operating a faith-based service program for at-risk young men. The complaint states that because Kalina had not resided in Michigan since 1986, the charge is within the statute of limitations.

The Archdiocese of Detroit said in a press release that the allegation against Kalina was reported to it in 2017, and the archdiocese turned over the complaint to the Shelby Township Police Department and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

“As we marked the three-year anniversary of our Clergy Abuse Investigation at the beginning of the month (of October 2021), I hope our continued prosecution against Mr. Kalina serves as a reminder of our ongoing commitment to securing justice for abuse survivors,” Nessel said in the Oct. 12 press release.   

For more about Nessel’s investigation into clergy abuse or to submit information, visit the Attorney General’s website, Tips also can be provided by calling (844) 324-3374.