Fr. Robert DeLand Sentenced, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 25, 2019

SNAP is grateful that Fr. Robert DeLand has been sentenced to jail. We applaud this outcome and are thankful to the police and prosecutors who helped his victims find justice.

We hope that the sentence handed down to Fr. DeLand will bring some solace to those he hurt. We also hope that this case inspires other victims who may be suffering in silence and encourages them to come forward and make a report to police.

Sadly, finding justice through the criminal system can often be elusive for victims of sexual violence. Archaic statutes of limitations (SOL) prevent many complaints from being prosecuted. Michigan has no statute of limitations for first degree sexual misconduct and charges can be filed at any time in cases where there is DNA evidence. However, it still has among the harshest SOLs in the country for second and third degree child sex crimes, despite small reforms that followed in the wake of the Larry Nassar case.

Legislators in Michigan should work to reform these laws, and also to change the civil SOLs and open a civil window. A look back provision would allow survivors whose claims are beyond the criminal SOL to expose these “hidden predators,” as well as those who enable them. This is the only way to get information about these abusers into the hands of the public, information that will help protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.

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