Bishop Cistone Issues Statement after Police Raids on Diocese Properties
By Bob Johnson
March 23, 2018
Bishop Joseph Cistone issued a statement Friday evening regarding raids conducted by law enforcement agencies on his home and other Saginaw Catholic Diocese properties as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church.
The statement, which was sent shortly after 8 p.m. on March 23, said that the diocese "has made a sincere effort to cooperate with law enforcement to date and will continue to do so moving forward."
Search warrants were executed on March 22 at the bishop's home on Corral Drive in Saginaw Township, the rectory at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township.
Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner previously said the raids were related to the diocese's lack of cooperation.
Only one diocese priest, Rev. Robert DeLand, known as "Father Bob" has been criminally charged. He was accused of sexually assaulting two males -- a 21-year-old and a 17-year-old -- in his Saginaw Township condominium.
Since DeLand's Feb. 26 arrest, numerous tips and allegations about further sexual abuse dating back as far as three decades have flooded area police departments, investigators previously said. Among the tips were allegations against other clergymen.
Another diocese priest, Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, was recently suspended by the diocese after they received a report he allegedly sexually assaulted a person when they were a minor. He has not been criminally charged.
The full statement reads:
"As you are aware, yesterday, March 22, the Diocese was served with a search warrant. This warrant included the Diocesan offices and Center for Ministry, the Bishop's residence, and the Cathedral.
"I understand this news is distressing and disheartening for the greater community and most especially our Catholic faithful.
"The Diocese has made a sincere effort to cooperate with law enforcement to date and will continue to do so moving forward."