Ex-Flint priest pleads guilty in criminal sexual conduct case

Midland Daily News [Midland MI]

April 25, 2023

By Angela Mulka

A former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old boy more than 30 years ago pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Tuesday announced Vincent Delorenzo, 84, a former priest with the Lansing Diocese, was pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987.

Delorenzo was among the first five priests charged by Nessel on a total of 21 counts involving sexual crimes allegedly committed while they served as priests in Michigan as part of her office’s clergy abuse investigation. Delorenzo was arrested in late May 2019 in Marion County, Florida where he moved to in 2008, according to an affidavit by Michigan State Police detective Craig Carberry.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the remaining charges Delorenzo was facing were dismissed, according to a Tuesday press release. He was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges related to the sexual assault of a child from 1995 to 2000 while he was a student at Holy Redeemer School and Church in Burton.

DeLorenzo was pastor at Holy Redeemer Church from June 1988 to January 2002, per the affidavit. Authorities say a young boy, about 5 or 6 years old, who attended the church school was abused by DeLorenzo between 1995 to 2000.

In 2002, the detective wrote, DeLorenzo admitted to sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s, and the Catholic Church placed DeLorenzo on restricted ministry. But he remained within the church, the detective said in his report.

“While the crime occurred more than 10 years ago, Michigan’s statute of limitations is tolled when a defendant leaves the state for any reason within the statute of limitations and resumes if and when the defendant returns to the state,” Nessel’s office wrote in the release.

DeLorenzo’s sentencing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on June 13. He is expected to be sentenced to five years of probation, with the first year served in the Genessee County Jail.

He will also be mandated to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act for a lifetime period. And will be ordered to engage in sex offender counseling, pay restitution and all the victims of Delorenzo will have the chance to provide an impact statement at the time of his sentencing hearing. 

“Our team continues to work day and night to bring an end to an era of abuse that has hidden in plain sight for far too long and provide justice to those who have suffered years of unimaginable trauma,” Nessel said in the Tuesday release. “This guilty plea will hopefully close this painful chapter and open the opportunity for much-needed healing for those victimized by Delorenzo.”

Anyone who would like to report an incident related to clergy sexual abuse in Michigan can call Nessel’s investigation hotline at (844) 324-3374.

Michigan’s Sexual Assault Hotline is free, anonymous and available 24/7 by calling 1-855-864-2374 or texting 1-866-238-1454.

Angela Mulka has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, focused on environmental science and health reporting, from Michigan State University. She realizes the importance of representation for all people in storytelling and values the field because of its commitment to uncovering truth. Born and raised in Michigan, Angela hopes to become a voice for the natural world to protect our planet for generations to come. Connect with her on Twitter @angelamulka.