Priest’s Lawyer: That Teenage Boy Seduced My Client

Flint, Michigan’s Fox affiliate reports:

Robert DeLand, a Saginaw priest who had been arrested and charged with sex crimes in March is now facing new charges. The new charges include: second degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury, controlled substance delivery, and contributing to a delinquency of a minor. DeLand was out on bond, but was arrested on Thursday. DeLand’s attorney Alan Crawford released a statement after the new charges were announced.

“The fact that Father Robert Deland is facing any charges is outright appalling. This investigation, these cases, are nothing more than a witch hunt. I am beyond shocked, not at what Father 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. Furthermore, this case is the text book definition of entrapment. The police, of all people, sent a troubled high school student undercover, that was already on probation, and attempted to use this teenager to seduce Father Deland.

It appears that “seduction” may be on video.

Michigan Live reports:

The Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office has issued a statement discouraging intimidation and derision of those coming forward in the ongoing investigation of sexual abuse within the Saginaw Catholic Diocese.

“The recent verbal attacks on the victims in these cases are unfounded,” reads the statement, jointly authored by the task force and prosecutors handling the investigation. “The charges (against the Rev. Robert “Father Bob” DeLand Jr.) are based, in part, on audio/visual police recordings. Any attempts to discourage other victims to come forward by letting them know that they too will be publicly attacked will also be addressed.”

The statement came the morning of Friday, April 6, a few hours after DeLand was arraigned in Saginaw County District Court on four more charges related to the suspected abuse of young men. Police on Thursday again arrested DeLand at his Saginaw Township condominium.

My initial report on the case is here.