July 20, 2018
An organization that claims to raise money for priests in legal trouble is in hot water of its own.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is telling Opus Bono Sacerdotii to stop its deceptive fundraising tactics on behalf of Catholic priests like the Rev. Robert DeLand.
The organization was raising money to help DeLand pay legal bills as his criminal sexual conduct cases move through the court system in Saginaw County.
DeLand is facing six criminal charges in connection with inappropriate sexual conduct with three young men.
The group claims the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is not paying for DeLand’s legal expenses, which total at least $75,000. However, it is not clear whether he knows the group is using his name to raise funds.
A Saginaw County couple received a letter earlier this month from Opus Bono Sacerdotii asking for money to help pay for his legal expenses. Anyone who calls call the number on the letter gets a recorded message asking for money.
The couple attends St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, where DeLand was the priest until his arrest in February. They did not want to be identified and did not send the organization any money.
“We were really mad,” the woman said. “We weren’t sure if it was legitimate or not legitimate, but it sure looked like it, since it said our names. Our names were spelled right.”
Opus Bono Sacerdotii is now in the crosshairs of Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose office has just issued a cease and desist order against the organization.
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