Former Flint-area Priest Facing Multiple Sex Assault Charges
By Roberto Acosta
May 24, 2019
|Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo stands for a portrait in this Aug. 14, 1985 file photo. (File photo by Bruce Edwards | The Flint Journal)|
A former Flint-area Catholic priest is facing six felony charges dating back to his time in Genesee County.
Criminal charges were filed against Vincent DeLorenzo on Thursday, May 23, including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to 67th District Court records.
The Diocese of Lansing issued a statement Thursday evening in response to an inquiry about DeLorenzo. The statement says, in part, that DeLorenzo is in the process of being defrocked for sexual misconduct.
The 80-year-old is listed as a Lantana, Florida resident in the court records. He has not yet been arraigned, but the diocese spelled out the former priest’s past troubles in its statement.
Patrick M. O’Brien, a spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing, said the organization “received a complaint against Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo of sexual abuse involving a minor” back in 2002.
“After receiving this complaint, Bishop Carl Mengeling permanently removed the priest from ministry,” according to O’Brien’s statement.
Since then, seven additional victims for a total of eight came forward, O’Brien said.
It’s unclear if those are the victims connected to the newest charges. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has scheduled a Friday, May 24 press conference in Lansing to provide an update on her office’s investigation into clergy abuse within the state’s seven Catholic dioceses. It’s expected she will address the charges filed against DeLorenzo.
The diocese has invited victims to come forward and report abuse to civil authorities and to contact the diocese to receive assistance, according to O’Brien.
The diocese “cooperated with civil authorities about the complaint,” per the statement.
“No one we know of who has sexually abused anyone is in active ministry in the Diocese of Lansing," O’Brien said in the statement. "The diocese is committed to cooperating fully with law enforcement so that anyone who would harm children can be brought to justice.”
A Flint native, DeLorenzo was ordained in 1965 and served as pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Flint Township from 1976 to 1983 and of St. Robert Parish in Flushing until 1988.
He also spent time as an associate pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in East Lansing, St. Joseph and St. Augustine Catholic churches in Kalamazoo and St. Casimir in Lansing, according to Flint Journal records.
In June 1988, he moved onto Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton. DeLorenzo abruptly resigned from Holy Redeemer in January 2002.
A letter by DeLorenzo was read to parishioners at Good Friday services in 2002 after his resignation in which he admitted to having “inappropriate sexual contact” with a minor, according to Flint Journal records.
"Many years ago, I had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor," DeLorenzo said in the brief statement. "This has caused harm to that young person. I am sorry it happened and now publicly apologize for what I did."
The letter came after a former Flint Township man alleged DeLorenzo molested him over a roughly five-year period, according to Journal records. The man was 32 years old when he came forth with the allegations.
The incidents allegedly began when the man was 8 years old and attending school in the late 1970s at St. Pius X Catholic Church, where DeLorenzo was assigned.
DeLorenzo sought medical and psychological treatment in January 2002 and resigned in keeping with Lansing diocesan policy on sexual misconduct, according to Journal records.
A 22-year-old man stepped forward in 2004, accusing DeLorenzo of sexual abuse based on a May 1987 incident. DeLorenzo was a priest at St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic Church in Flushing at the time when the man was 5-years-old.
The alleged victim had been baptized by DeLorenzo and the priest had asked to see the boy alone at the time of his great-grandmother’s funeral in a private residence, according to Journal records.
Charges were never filed against DeLorenzo in connection to either allegation.