Press Release: Diocese Clarifies Previous Statements Regarding Father Robert (Bob) DeLand
Diocese of Saginaw
March 08, 2018
The Diocese of Saginaw, in responding very quickly last week to questions raised by members of the media and members of the community, following criminal charges filed against Father Robert (Bob) DeLand, provided the following information:
“To the best of our knowledge, Father DeLand has not been subject to disciplinary action or accusations of priestly misconduct.”
While this information was believed to be accurate based on a preliminary review, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, considered it imperative to conduct a further, in-depth study of Father DeLand’s files.
Upon thorough examination of these files, the Diocese can find no evidence of a previous accusation against Father DeLand by a victim nor someone with direct knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor. The Diocese provides this additional information from Father DeLand’s files:
A letter written by Father DeLand in 1992 to Bishop Kenneth Untener, who was Bishop of Saginaw at the time, referred to rumors damaging to Father DeLand’s reputation. In the letter, Father DeLand stated he took issue with the rumors and denied wrongdoing.
Also, in 2005, the Diocese was called about a family member’s suspicion [the family member had no personal knowledge nor did she have knowledge of an allegation against Father DeLand]. She wondered whether her brother, who committed suicide in 1993, might have been molested by Father DeLand in the 1970's. In 2005, after an independent professional investigator completed a thorough assessment, the independent Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Robert Carlson, who was Bishop of Saginaw at the time, as well as the family agreed that the suspicion against Father DeLand was unfounded.
The Review Board, established in 2003, acts as a confidential, consultative body advising the bishop in his assessment of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by priests or deacons, and in his assessment of a cleric's suitability for ministry. The Review Board is comprised of individuals with expertise beneficial to the protection of children, including the treatment of the sexual abuse of minors. The Review Board offers advice on cases, reviews on a regular basis the safe environment policies of the diocese, and recommends to the bishop any modifications, if appropriate. It is primarily comprised of persons who are not employed by the Diocese of Saginaw.