Father Robert DeLand wants trial moved before it starts next week

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (3/15/2019) - The trial of a priest accused of sex crimes is expected to begin next week in Saginaw County, but the attorney for Father Robert DeLand wants it to occur elsewhere.

DeLand's attorney filed a motion to change the location out of the trial because of all the pre-trial publicity.

The prosecutor's office has asked the judge in the case to deny the motion, because -- in their opinion -- it's premature.

DeLand was arrested in February 2018 after three young men made accusations of sexual misconduct. At the time, he was serving at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Tittabawassee Township.

DeLand pleaded no contest to six felony charges and one misdemeanor related to the alleged abuse involving three males who were teens at the time. He withdrew those pleas in October after the judge indicated he would sentence DeLand to more time in prison than he thought.

A hearing on the motion to move the trial is scheduled for Monday.