Hearing Postponed for Former Flint-area Priest Accused of Sexually Assaulting Boy
By Roberto Acosta
June 27, 2019
A court hearing has been postponed weeks for a former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting a young boy at a Burton Catholic church.
Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, was scheduled for a probable cause conference on Thursday, June 27 in Genesee District Court after being formally arraigned last week on three counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Mike Manley, DeLorenzo’s attorney, made a brief appearance in court Thursday afternoon when it was decided the hearing would be moved to early August to, in part, allow for additional discovery. DeLorenzo was not in court.
The charges against DeLorenzo and four other priests were announced May 24 by Attorney General Dana Nessel.
A five or six-year old boy who attended primary school at a Catholic Church in Burton from 1995 – 2000 is the alleged victim of sexual assault by a former Flint-area priest, according to an affidavit released by the Attorney General’s Office.
The victim, listed as “John Doe” in charging documents, is not being identified.
The boy attended the primary school Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton starting when he was five or six years old in 1995, when the misconduct is said to have begun. The abuse lasted for five years, according to officials.
During this time, DeLorenzo allegedly penetrated, fondled and caressed the boy during blessings and while praying, according to the affidavit. Some of the incidents are said to have taken place in the less visible areas of the Holy Redeemer Church.
In taking on the case, Manley said he’s defending DeLorenzo “to ensure he receives a fair trial.”
“The facts of this case will be determined in a Court of Law, not by political press conferences, anti-Catholic rhetoric or offensive references to the Holy Rosary,” he commented. “It is tragic that the Catholic Church as a whole, all Bishops and the Clergy have been stereotyped as pedophiles or condoning the abuse of children as a result of the despicable actions of certain individuals within the church. I will not tolerate such vile hatred or such stereotyping in this case.”
Manley added DeLorenzo “has publicly admitted his past wrongs and received harsh discipline within the Church” and that the prosecutor at the time “was aware of the allegations and chose not to prosecute.”
In June 1988, DeLorenzo took a posistion at 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 forward 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.
No charges were ever brought forth.
“The prosecutor at the time was aware of the allegations and chose not to prosecute," said Manley. “These are new allegations that Mr. DeLorenzo vehemently denies. The facts will be presented to a jury. If the prosecution proves its case, he will be held accountable. If not, he and his accusers will have had their day in court. Either way, due process and the rule of law will prevail.”
DeLorenzo posted a $90,000 bond on the charges. He was ordered by the court to have no drugs, alcohol, or unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 years old.