HIGH-RANKING MICHIGAN PRIEST ARRESTED FOR GAY SEX ASSAULT

HIGH-RANKING MICHIGAN PRIEST ARRESTED FOR GAY SEX ASSAULT

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[Fr. DeLand in clerical garb]
High-Ranking Michigan Priest Arrested for Gay Sex Assault
[Fr. DeLand in jail garb]
by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 26, 2018

Fr. Robert DeLand is Judicial Vicar and a judge on the marriage tribunal of the Saginaw diocese

[Not unprecedented for high-ranking officials in other dioceses removed for similar offenses (e.g., see Former Worcester, Massachusetts, Diocesan Chancellor Rev. John Bagley Is Removed from Post)! – AQ moderator Tom]

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Judicial Vicar for the diocese of Saginaw, Michigan has been arrested for sexual assault of another man.

Father Robert DeLand, pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Freeland and a judge on the marriage tribunal, was arrested Monday after a months-long covert operation by local police involving surveillance.

press release issued by Det. Brian Berg of the Tittabawassee Township Police Department Sunday announced that the 71-year-old cleric had been under observation since November 2017, three months after he was accused of sexual assault at his home.

On August 8, 2017 a Criminal Sexual Assault complaint was filed by a subject alleging he was sexually assaulted the previous evening by a Catholic Priest at the priest’s condominium … . Between Nov. 2, 2017 and Feb. 25, 2018 five additional Criminal Complaints were filed with the Tittabawassee Township Police against this same Catholic Priest alleging Gross Indecency, furnishing alcohol to a minor, sexual assault, and the illegal purchase/possession of a controlled substance known as the drug Ecstasy.

The Saginaw diocese issued a statement Monday afternoon acknowledging it had first learned of the arrest Monday morning through local media. “The Diocese of Saginaw had no previous knowledge of the police investigation or of these allegations,” the statement declared.

“Upon receiving the information from media this morning, the diocese requested a copy of the police report and warrant issued against Father DeLand, which we have not yet received,” the note continued.

Bishop Joseph Cistone, head of the diocese, commented, “I am deeply distressed by this most serious situation. Clearly, the diocese will cooperate fully with law enforcement and their investigation.”

DeLand is being placed on administrative leave during the investigation. [N.B. “Is” not “was” despite the August 2017 and subsequent criminal sexual assault complaints! – AQ moderator Tom]

Inside sources say DeLand has been molesting victims for decades, and that victims have privately admitted to abuse at his hands, although none have stepped forward to say so publicly. DeLand has been a priest for the diocese since 1973.

A Monday email sent by the superintendent of Freeland Community Schools and obtained by Church Militant states that DeLand is barred from entering school property:

Due to concerns that have been brought forward and a criminal investigation that is currently ongoing, I have issued a Criminal Trespass Warning to Father Bob DeLand not to be on Freeland Community School District property or attend any Freeland School event. The Freeland Schools are deeply disturbed by his arrest last night, saddened for our community, and committed to supporting any students that are in need of trusted adults after learning of the many accusations against Father Bob DeLand. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding our response to this horrible situation.

Matthew A. Cairy, Superintendent Freeland Community School District

DeLand has also been banned from the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region properties, where he is a board member.

The diocese of Saginaw is under the leadership of Bp. Joseph Cistone, intalled in 2009. From 2011–13, Cistone oversaw an extensive parish restructuring program that resulted in about half of all diocesan parishes shuttered or reorganized: Out of 109 churches, 56 were classified as parish churches, 24 as churches for additional use and 29 as churches for occasional use. The diocese blamed the restructuring on fewer priests and declining numbers of parishioners.

The backlash to the parish closings led the diocese to set up a webpage to help parishioners deal with their anger.

The investigation remains ongoing, and the Saginaw prosecutor is reviewing police reports to determine whether to file charges.

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One comment on “HIGH-RANKING MICHIGAN PRIEST ARRESTED FOR GAY SEX ASSAULT

  1. [First a sexual assailant, now a druggie]
    /
    Embattled Saginaw Priest Arraigned Second Time
    /
    by Trey Elmore • ChurchMilitant.com • April 6, 2018
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    Controlled substance and assault charges authorized April 5
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    SAGINAW (ChurchMilitant.com) – Saginaw priest Fr. Robert Deland has been arraigned for a second time on charges of sexual assault. Deland appeared in the Saginaw County District Court by video from jail.
    /
    According to a statement by the Tittabawassee Township Police Department, Deland, 71, is being charged with the following:
    /
    1 Count — Controlled Substance-Imitation Manufacture or Distribution (Felony, 2 years)
    1 Count — Criminal Sexual Conduct-Second Degree Assault (Felony, 5 years)
    1 Count — Criminal Sexual Conduct-Second Degree-Personal Injury (Felony, 15 years)
    1 Count — Alcohol-Selling/Furnishing to a Minor (Misdemeanor, 60 days in jail)

    /
    DeLand’s attorney Alan Crawford said in a statement, “I am beyond shocked, not at what Fr. Deland did but the manner in which the police department operated. There is no criminal activity. There is no criminal intent. This is a man of God that was doing his job of serving his community and helping those in need.”
    /
    A statement by Saginaw Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Boyd said, “We encourage other victims to continue to come forward so that those who are responsible for any attempt to cover up abuse of minors by priests are likewise brought to justice.”
    /
    Deland’s next court date is Friday, April 20 at 2:30 pm.
    /
    Church Militant reported the first arrest of Deland for sexual assault on February 26.
    /
    On March 3, Church Militant reported the explosion of sex abuse claims following Deland’s arrest.
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    On March 22, Saginaw police raided the home of Saginaw Bp. Joseph Cistone, as well as the chancery and cathedral rectory.
    /
    Saginaw prosecutor Mark Gaertner told Church Militant in a statement, “Contrary to statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they have not. Therefore, it was necessary for law enforcement officials to utilize other investigative means and execute search warrants.”
    /

    www.youtube.com/embed/wwOUyv3JjxQ

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