Michigan Live reports:
Sunday, the Rev. Robert DeLand Jr. conducted Mass at St. Agnes Church in Freeland and renewed the vows of a couple who had been married 25 years, according to people who were there. He was arrested later that day.
Monday, he was in jail charged with sexual assault after police in Tittabawassee and Saginaw townships finished a months-long investigation into allegations of sex crimes involving alcohol, drugs and underage boys. During a joint press conference with the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office and Saginaw and Tittabawassee townships’ police departments, officials called for more victims to come forward.
A sexual assault complaint was filed in August 2017 and claimed the incident happened inside the priest’s condo, according to police. Five additional reports were filed with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department from November 2017 to Sunday, Feb. 25, and claim DeLand engaged in gross indecency, sexual assault, furnished alcohol to minors, and bought the drug ecstasy.
The diocese has issued a statement:
“I am deeply distressed by this most serious situation,” said the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw. “Clearly, the diocese will cooperate fully with law enforcement and their investigation. I ask that you keep in your prayers Father DeLand and anyone who has brought forward allegations against him. My heartfelt prayers and support go out to the St. Agnes Parish family and the entire Freeland community. Father DeLand, who is pastor at St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, as well as a judicial vicar for the Diocese of Saginaw, will be placed on administrative leave during this investigation in accord with diocesan policy.”