Former Flint-area priest faces April trial date in sex abuse case

MLive [Walker MI]

March 28, 2023

By Joey Oliver

FLINT, MI – A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting underage boys may stand trial just shy of four years after being charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Vincent DeLorenzo, 84, is scheduled to face a jury at a trial before Genesee County Circuit Judge Brian S. Pickell on April 26, online court records show.

DeLorenzo, a former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys in the mid-1990s, when the alleged victims were under 13 years old, appeared before Pickell on Monday, March 27, for a final pretrial hearing.

It was at that hearing that Sara Coaster, a defense attorney representing DeLorenzo, and the prosecutor on the case, assistant attorney general Danielle Hagaman-Clark, told the judge they were prepared to head to trial.

“Father DeLorenzo has denied these specific allegations,” Michael Manley, an attorney handling the former priests case told MLive-The Journal on Tuesday, March 28. “He has a right to a fair trial by a jury of his peers. The jury will decide if the government has met their burden of proof and we will respect whatever decision the jury makes. Although not perfect, we have the best legal system in the world.”

A request for comment from the state Attorney General’s office was not immediately returned Tuesday.

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 Journal records.

In June 1988, he moved onto Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton. DeLorenzo abruptly resigned from Holy Redeemer in January 2002.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing previously said the organization received a complaint against DeLorenzo of sexual abuse involving a minor in 2002. The complaint led to the priest being permanently removed from the ministry, the spokesman said.

Since then, seven additional victims for a total of eight came forward.

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 Journal records.

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 until 2019.