Employee sues Saginaw diocese, claiming retaliation for reporting sex-abuse complaint


May 12, 2020

By Cole Waterman

A man who says his job with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was impacted after he reported a sex-abuse complaint against a priest has filed a lawsuit against the diocese.

In the suit, Gabriel Villarreal alleges he was retaliated against by the diocese and its agents for reporting a relative had been assaulted by the Rev. Robert J. DeLand. A jury acquitted DeLand of charges related to the relative, but DeLand was convicted of sexual assaulting a different person in a separate case.

Villarreal is a maintenance worker for the diocese.

Detroit attorney Jonathan R. Marko in March filed the suit in Saginaw County Circuit Court on behalf of Villarreal. The suit is seeking at least $25,000, plus interest, attorney fees, and exemplary damages.

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