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Michigan Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
“Religious” Leaders Ed Conlin and Jamie Treadwell Betrayed the Trust of Their Members for Decades.
Religious leaders Ed Conlin and Jamie Treadwell sexually abused young girls across Michigan and Northern Ireland, denying it for 40 years as they led an ecumenical society of 114,000 called Sword of the Spirit (SOS) and its offshoot Servants of the Word (SOW), a male-only monastic order.
The first accusation was made against Conlin in 1996. Instead of taking action, the organizations simply transferred Conlin and Treadwell to new locations, failed to report the assaults to law enforcement and actively advised individuals and families to handle the situation internally.
“This environment becomes the perfect breeding ground and protection for rapists and pedophiles, with children who have been groomed and conditioned to fully believe that sexual abuse is their fault entirely, and even deserved.”
Despite pleading from the families of assaulted members, both organizations consistently covered up the magnitude of child sexual abuse committed by leaders in their ranks. Allegations reveal young girls were groomed, fondled, molested, and raped – sometimes right under their parents’ noses.
Because the system enforced an authoritarian culture where it was forbidden to gossip, survivors were conditioned not to speak out.
Years of Accusations Ignored – Until Now.
For years, families were ordered to handle any sexual abuse incidents privately within the walls of their homes. Rather than receiving accountability, the young girls who spoke up about the assaults were chastised by members for “throwing” themselves at Conlin.
Edward Conlin was only just ousted from Sword of the Spirit in May 2023 after allegations of repeated child and minor sexual abuse since 1996.
James Treadwell (and Conlin by association) was exposed in 2020 when a frustrated couple took their story to Michigan Public Radio. Treadwell pleaded no contest in 2022 to accusations of assaulting an 8 and 11-year-old in 2015-2016 and was given 18 months’ probation, 14 days in prison, and the order to publicly register as a sex offender.
Still, there was nothing done to prevent future abuse or help the survivors within SOS and SOW.
All this is changing now as Grewal Law, PLLC, has filed three separate civil lawsuits representing survivors. Grewal Law, the survivors, and their families are calling for accountability and a stop to the evil that went on far too long behind the closed doors of these organizations that claimed to care for families while molesting children.
A Case for Women and Grewal Law
A Case for Women is an organization built from the ground up by women, for women. We were started by a mother-daughter team seven years ago with the goal of empowering women by educating them about powerful legal action. Since our inception, we have helped thousands of women take civil legal action against the institutions that harbored assailants. While every story is different, the result is the same.
Speaking your truth and being heard is life changing. Civil legal action creates meaningful change.
We are thrilled to be working with Michigan-based law firm Grewal Law, PLLC on this advocacy initiative. Grewal is leading the charge in this developing lawsuit. The firm’s attorneys are already representing three families who were among the first to go public about SOS/SOW, each of whom was given the microphone at a press conference organized by its lawyers, including 6 survivors now in their 30s-40s.
Grewal is no stranger to sexual assault, cover-ups and high-powered defendants. The firm is well-known for representing more than 200 survivors of former University of Michigan doctor Robert Anderson (resolved with a $490 million settlement in principle) and representing 111 of 333 survivors in lawsuits against Michigan State University former doctor Larry Nassar (resolved for survivors in a $500 million global settlement).
Grewal accepts cases on a contingency-fee basis and will only be compensated if and when they achieve a positive settlement or verdict in your case. There is no charge for A Case for Women services. Together we are committed to helping you heal, find justice and create lasting change.