Cranbrook Institute, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Francis (Frank) D. Shelden, geologist, part-time university professor, land developer, philanthropist, owner of N. Fox Island, pedophile, rapist, child pornographer, torturer of boys, and probable purveyor of snuff films, was also a member of the board of directors of the Cranbrook Institute School for Boys when he fled to the Netherlands in late 1976 to evade justice in a child rape case.

A reader asked if I knew who was on the clergy staff at Christ Church Cranbrook, located near the school grounds, from 1975 to 1977. Anyone know?

16 thoughts on “Cranbrook Institute, Bloomfield Hills, MI”

  1. I don’t know who this clergyman was but I have not heard your thoughts on Charles Blanchard, police officer and relative of former governor James Blanchard . He was an early suspect and lived off of Woodward in ferndale and pleasant ridge.

    1. I know nothing about him. Which PD? How do you know he was an early suspect? Is he still living? Why and how do you think he was connected to these crimes?

      1. He’s dead at age 78 in 2013. He was DPD , I believe 2nd precinct. Helen and other people had mentioned him many years ago but he slipped through the cracks as a suspect without much interest as say a Chris Flynn who was also a cop.

        The fact that he was a suspect and a cop with disciplinary problems and lived in the pickup zone makes me think he needs to be revisited and publicised.

        1. Cops had to have been involved in the pedophile and child pornography rings in Michigan. Many have long observed a cop was involved with the OCCK crimes. I agree; let’s get names out there. Will LE take a second look? They may have to if more of the truth seeps to the surface here. Some very interesting things were posted about this case on Helen’s site and on Topix a decade or more ago. Some of the comments were very insightful—and/or made by people who seemed to know more than they should as a mere observer.

          I thought about, but ultimately dismissed, the idea of posting all of the FOIA documents online. I dismissed the idea because there are people with bad intent who not only read my blog carefully and consistently, but communicate with me by email. I hear from them almost daily. They do not inspire my faith in humanity.

          I have no police powers and the police do not listen to me. If you have information, you have to go to police. If they don’t listen, feel free to post here. But I can’t weigh in on suspects I know nothing about. If you have substantive evidence and the police won’t listen, maybe a documentarian will. I can forward your information.

  2. I was a kid in the 60s and was thrilled to take Saturday art classes at Cranbrook. It is so distressing to know that ugly hurtful activity took place right beyond the lovely facades of those buildings.
    I’ve been listening to J. Reuben’s podcasts. They are terrific. He’s one of my heroes.
    I wish I had some information about the higher ups at Cranbook but I never even met one. Except the guy who told me Cranbrook wasn’t for me when I was 19 years old, because they only taught “fine art” and I had the foolish notion of becoming a commercial artist.
    Maybe I wasn’t the desired sex or age.

  3. It looks like the head pastor, or whatever the Episcopal church calls them, during this time was Gerald O’Grady. I found online that he started there in 1969, and found another online document from 1982, which still has him as the pastor. However, with a church the size of CCC, I’m sure there were other staff clergy on staff.

  4. Lol. More clergy. If it was Lutheran I would bet it was my old pastor. I just can’t imagine though who the clergy at Cranbrook was. What I bet is that there was a very exclusive clergy group of all different churches that were part of this deep ugliness.



    1. I have often thought the same, that there may have been a very exclusive group of evil religious leaders who had hired OCCK to kidnap children for their weird occult ceremonies.
      Seems like pedophiles had safe harbor in church, totally sick.

      1. We need to get the names straight here. Cranbrook at the time was a series of educational institutions. There was the Cranbrook Institute of Science, a science museum and planetarium; Cranbrook School, the boys’ middle school and the high school with boarders; Kingswood School with middle school for girls and high school with boarders; Brookside the elementary school, and the Cranbrook Art Academy, a graduate art school. Until 1973 Christ Church was also affiliated with the school. In 1973 organization of Cranbrook changed, the church was no longer a part of the educational set up and the upper (high) schools began to integrate girls and boys. At no time was the boys’ school called the Cranbrook Institute as seems to appear in some entries.

  5. Bruce Carter seems an interesting, perhaps illustrative figure.

    From what I can tell he started out at Knox Grammar School in Australia. He was a student of Knox himself. He attended Harvard, where he mastered in Education. His doctorate from the University of Toronto was the history and philosophy in education. In 1970 he was invited to return to the Knox Grammar School to oversee the creation and development of a new senior boarding house. In 1971 he was appointed Deputy Headmaster. In mid 1985 he was appointed Headmaster of Cranbrook in Sydney, a position he held for sixteen years.

    There were Cranbrook schools in Michigan, England, and Australia. While not “affiliated”…

    “The bonds between the three Cranbrooks remain strong, with several of our teachers having visited either Kent or Michigan. These include Dr I G Burnett, Head of Classics and Housemaster of Wakehurst House in the 1970s – who taught at Cranbrook in Kent… and Mr Bill Forbes, maths teacher and Housemaster of Woodward House, who introduced gifted learning principles under Headmaster Bruce Carter and visited Cranbrook in Michigan in the 1990s.” (Their website)

    The set-up at all three seemed to be based on similar principles of housing indicated at Knox: boys were grouped in houses by age. Each house was assigned a headmaster, or house master. The housemaster lived at the boarding house and was generally in charge of
    the house and welfare of the boys who lived in it. The houses were home to the school’s boarders during term and they slept there and ate their meals there. Many of the boarders were from the country and during term they were separated from their parents by long distances.

    Each house also had a group of master residents, also typically teachers, who lived in the houses and received free board.

    Knox was in the news about ten years ago:

    I will have to go through my notes to find it, but the man who ran the house that Ted Kaczynski lived in at Harvard during the “Murray” is a useful and maybe educational parallel into how these houses were run and how the students were selected. Here is an article touching on it, but again I believe my notes include more detail about the Housemaster/Headmaster, so I will look.

    I highly recommend the author’s book for a deeper understanding of the mechanics and politics behind such a program, such a school, and the way many of these students, whose troubles were deepened by these experiences, were sent back, without guidance let alone supervision, into the general populace. I do not believe there are connections between Cranbrook and Kaczysnki: rather, these kinds of independent and “esteemed” programs, just as the system described at Boystown through the Franklin investigation offers insight.

    There is a strange portrait painting of Bruce Carter, authored by Madame Lash (aka Gretel Pinniger). The title: “The Enlightened Educator”. It features two boys in the window outside the room Carter stands in, identified as one of Carter’s sons and one of the artists. Pinniger is or was a famed Australian dominatrix – strange choice for a commission. Later, her benefactor was revealed to have been Lord Hamlyn.

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