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Dearborn Priest Faces Probation, Fines for Drunken Driving, Disorderly Conduct Charges

The Rev. Peter Petroske was sentenced Thursday in Dearborn's 19th District Court.

A Dearborn priest arrested in August for drunken driving and indecent exposure faces a year of probation and continued counseling, but hopes to return to the ministry, according to his attorney.

The Rev. Peter Petroske, who formerly served as the head priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dearborn, was sentenced Thursday in Dearborn's 19th District Court before Judge Richard Wygonik.

Petroske was . Following the charges, he was suspended from his post at Sacred Heart by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

For the disorderly conduct charge arising from the indecent exposure, Petroske was fined $100 and ordered to pay $100 in other costs.

For the impaired driving charge, he will pay a $200 fine and other costs, plus report to a probation officer via mail, fax or email on a regular basis for 12 months.

Pestroske was also ordered to continue counseling during that time, and attend Alcoholics Anonymous treatment three times per week.

Petroske's attorney, Edward Zelenak, said that they "appreciated the plea offer" from the city prosecutor.

"The sentence was appropriate," he said. "And the city attorney’s office was very fair."

Petroske arrived in Dearborn for the sentencing from Downingtown, PA, where he has been receiving inpatient treatment in the St. John Vianney Center since his arrest. His hearing for the charges was set back several times due to his stay at the center, which tags itself as "the oldest running behavioral health facility in North America for clergy and religious."

Zelenak confirmed that Petroske plans to continue both inpatient and outpatient treatment.

"He has not been discharged yet," Zelenak confirmed after the sentencing, adding that Petroske hopes to continue his path as a clergyman. "He’ll be back in the ministry soon. He still remains a member of the ministry of the Archdiocese of Detroit."

Concerned Parent December 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM
This Prosecutor needs to be FIRED for this Farce of a plea deal and the JUDGE is no better for allowing it!!!! Let's look at statistics: About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders. (Fell, Jim. “Repeat DWI Offenders in the United States.” Washington, DC: National Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Tech No. 85, February 1995.) In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 131 (62 percent) were riding with the drunk driver. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2010: Alcohol Impaired Driving” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2011.) Adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010 - that is almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 2011) Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012. Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2010
Concerned Parent December 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Continued Statistics: 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. (Peck, R.C., Wilson, R. J., and Sutton, L. 1995. “Driver license strategies for controlling the persistent DUI offender, Strategies for Dealing with the intent Drinking Driver.” Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Circular No. 437. Washington, D.C. National Research Council: 48-49 and Beck, KH, et al. “Effects of Ignition Interlock License Restrictions on Drivers with Multiple Alcohol Offenses: A Randomized Trial in Maryland.” American Journal of Public Health, 89 vol. 11 (1999): 1696-1700.) In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving crashes - one every 53 minutes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012. Almost every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. Blincoe, Lawrence, et al. “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000.” Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002. NHTSA FARS data, 2011. An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest. (Centers for Disease Control. “Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults — United States, 2010.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. October 4, 2011.)
Concerned Parent December 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Anyone who condones the Light Sentence because the Priest is a nice guy and so on and so forth please think of the above statistics. Plus think about what is some guy doing driving around NAKED in a CAR DRUNK! I am sorry the combination of those two things tells me NOTHING GOOD! I do not care how NICE, the fact he is a priest, prays, and so forth to be good enough reasons to NOT throw the book at him over something that has negative impacts on MANY peoples lives and most of the time the Drunk driver comes out of the accident fine and it is the people either in the car or the other car that end up dead!!! You can call me judgmental and you can tell me I am going to you know where because I feel that a Priest should not be given special treatment or whatever your reason. I am sorry I do not feel that being in some fancy treatment center should be another reason for him to get off light. He broke the law and should pay the consequences that the rest of us would have which would be to pay thousands of dollars in fines and so forth. I am sick of Clergy, Athletes, stars, politicians, etc being given special treatment because of who they are instead of them getting the same punishment that anyone else would get!!!!!!!!
Joseph December 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Here’s a list of 225 accused clerics, nuns and staff. http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/spooks-fakers-false-spiritual-healers/ Bob Schwiderski, Minnesota SNAP Director. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. 952-471-3422 or skibrs@q.com. http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/
Joseph December 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Wichasha, Winyan - Chincá are in harm's way! (Mother, Father - your children are in harm’s way!) A video look at how the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Mpls keeps Native American children in harm’s way: --- http://youtu.be/r5glYmmLPzY Accused: Deacon Joe Damiani http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/child-protection-alert-damiani Bob Schwiderski, Minnesota SNAP Director. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. 952-471-3422 or skibrs@q.com. http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/
Peggy Weggy December 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
SLAP on the wrist! "The financial cost of a DUI conviction can range as much as $24,000 or more when after the dust settles." http://www.avvo.com/topics/166-dui/sections/3924-dui-costs .... And that's not even including the indecent exposure charge. Either the court is turning the other cheek or the richest organized religion in the world (or nearly the richest) is paying for this.
Pam December 28, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I would be interested in seeing the sentencing results in 19th District Court for similar offenses before making comment he is being treated differently. I am glad that he is in an inpatient private facility and I'm not paying for it.
Sherry Maironis December 29, 2012 at 12:33 AM
I said from the beginning, the church was supporting this Judge in his reelection efforts as the Judge delayed the trial until after the election. Now, praise god, the prest is able to make it back to Michigan for his trial. I can't think of any other person that has received a $200 fine for drunk driving...can you? Thank god this Judge is out!!
William Price December 29, 2012 at 01:12 AM
The richest organization in the world is an oligarchy of international bankers that own corporations like the Federal Reserve. The Catholic Church is a mere pauper comparatively, My Beef is with the Arch Bishop of Detroit. He's a weak little politician because he didn't end this reprobate's religious career. Petroske should be removed permanently from "ministry". If Dearborn's judges want to play this game they should be removed from the bench too. The system is broke folks.
Tom B December 29, 2012 at 02:28 AM
This guy deserves a break. I mean, he wants back into the clergy at another parish, maybe in a different state and start all over again. Jim Baker is back on TV after swindling millions of dollars from people. Why not hide this priest in some obscure, rural church and let him do his thing. WHERE IS OUR CHRISTIAN AND FORGIVING NATURE? Just kidding
Boileroperator December 29, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Sell the Vatican, feed the world!
AC December 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The sentence is par for the course, as far as DUI first offense in Dearborn is concerned. People need to lighten up and cut this man some slack. He is only an AGENT for god, not the big man himself.
Pam December 29, 2012 at 06:25 PM
If you have information on how other first time drunk offenders in this court are treated, please share it.
Marium Wilke December 30, 2012 at 05:20 PM
SHAME ON THE CATHOLIC ARCH DIOCESE....They have consistently ignored the consistent shameful problems....I have seen nothing but bad decisions on behalf of the preists....and the people that still want to be part of the. Catholic church.....The people that are leading us have not stood up to their responsibilities..We are religion who can't get priests..We are losing parishioners...While Joel Olson has thousands going to his church to hear him speak..Someone had to be a catholic there...There's no excuse for this priest...It is what it is he was DRUNK & NUDE..He is a man with alot of years of faith and knowledge of right from wrong under his belt...This Dearborn judge that has enabled him to continue with his problem was not what he needed...He needed to be accountable for his bad actions..And so should the Catholic Church..I am very sad that my church has NOT turned anything around and made it a more believeable religion that has more uplifting meaning...I am very sad for this priest...They just put his problem on hold...
Fahrvegnugen January 02, 2013 at 11:09 PM
I don't think you know what you're talking about, Concerned Parent. Many drunk drivers, even those who hurt other people, are parents. However, I've never heard of a naked priest causing anyone any injuries while driving drunk. This defendant was a priest, and naked, therefore, as a parent, you are more likely to drive drunk and hurt someone than he was.
Concerned Parent January 07, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Fahrvegnugen- I am sorry but I actually know what I am talking about. I do not drink and drive. Even before I was a parent I was generally the DD because I never really every drank and when I do it is 1 drink that is consumed 2 hours before I know I would be leaving and I drank a lot of water afterwards. My parents do not drink. I have seen what has happened with my Drunk relatives and I have vowed never to be like them. So I can say with certainty that it is NOT more likely for me to drive drunk and hurt someone over the priest. Plus let me add in here that just because he is a Priest does not mean that he does not do things that are wrong and does not Drink. Actually the fact that he is in a REHAB and there is no real end in sight for when he will be discharged ( he has been there since September by the way) proves more that he has a Drinking problem and I would be this was not the first time he has driven Drunk! Priest are people too! You do realize that don't you? They are not above the law and they can sin just like anyone else. Have you not heard of the Priest that have molested children. That is an even worse offense and I am sorry something is seriously wrong with anyone who will drive around in their car naked. It raises a lot of questions! Perhaps if the law would actually get tough on people who drive drunk then maybe less drunk people will injure people in crashes. Please look up the statistics about Drunk Driving! I listed the sources!

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