Saginaw Diocese's Point Man on Sex Abuse Cases Meets with Prosecutors
By Terry Camp
May 3, 2018
The man appointed to help the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw deal with abuse claims met with prosecutors on Wednesday.
Michael Talbot said his phone calls and emails to the Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office have gone unanswered, so he paid a personal visit. Talbot said they vowed to work together.
"It was, I think, productive," he said.
Bishop Joseph Cistone appointed the now-retired Michigan Court of Appeals judge three weeks ago to help the diocese deal with the alleged sex abuse claims.
Wednesday marked the first time Talbot spoke with Prosecutor John McColgan and Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner, who is leading a task force formed to investigate current and past claims of possible abuse by priests in the diocese.
"If there is something of concern to them, I want to resolve it," Talbot said. "But if there is nothing else out there, I would also like them to say that."
Prosecutors asked Talbot whether he gathered any further information about criminal acts involving diocesan staff. He said there are several reports of "adult behavior" that was sinful, but nothing further that rises to a criminal level.
The task force was formed in March following the Feb. 25 arrest of the Rev. Robert DeLand, who now faces trial for alleged sex crimes involving three victims.
Talbot also provided an update on the case of the Rev. Ronald Dombrowski, who was suspended by the Saginaw diocese in March after someone made an allegation.
Talbot said the complainant in that investigation is about 50 years old now and the alleged criminal acts happened several years ago. The diocese handed off the information it collected to prosecutors.
The incident reportedly happened in Florida decades ago, but it's not clear if any law enforcement agency there is investigating. Dombrowski remains suspended by the diocese.
Gaertner's task force has been sorting through dozens of claims made against local priests. Saginaw Township and Tittabawassee Township police are taking part in the task force, along with other state and local police agencies.
Talbot said he would like to see all these investigations wrapped up soon.
"Conversely, if there is no one out there, we owe it to all sorts of good men and women who are in ministry in the diocese for that to be said," Talbot said.