Saginaw County Prosecutor Forms Team to Investigate Priest Abuse Allegations
By John Hall
March 8, 2018
Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan says a special investigative team is being formed to coordinate and address allegations of abuse involving officials within the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. The announcement Thursday follows criminal sexual conduct charges filed recently against 71-year- old Rev.Robert DeLand, which came from two male accusers, ages 17 and 21. Saginaw County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Gaertner estimates 20 to 30 accusations of abuse have been delivered to authorities, with some dating as far back as the 1970s. Gaertner predicts more tips will be provided that will have to be followed up on, possibly leading to other charges. He said those may not only involve Deland, but possibly other priests, as well.
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The Diocese is also encouraging potential sexual abuse victims to come forward. Bishop Joseph Cistone told parisioners at Saint Agnes Church in Freeland, where Deland served as priest, that the recent allegations were the first indication they had of anything related to this type of issue. Officials from the Diocese say a thorough examination of DeLandís files found no evidence of a previous accusation against him, either by a victim or someone with direct knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor.