GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (9/17/2019) - A former priest who served at Catholic churches in Genesee County is facing a new count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office already charged 80-year-old Vincent DeLorenzo with three counts of first-degree and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. A fourth count of first-degree CSC was announced on Tuesday.
Attorney General Dana Nessel said the new charge stems from inappropriate sexual contact DeLorenzo allegedly had with a 5-year-old boy after a funeral for the boy's relative in 1987.
DeLorenzo was one of the first five Catholic priests that Nessel charged this year. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Nessel believes the charges against DeLorenzo and other priests "only scratch the surface" of what investigators initially "swept under the rug" years ago.
“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,” she said.
DeLorenzo moved to Florida after the Catholic Diocese of Lansing removed him from public ministry in 2002. Police arrested him in Marion County, Florida, in June and brought him to Michigan.
DeLorenzo is scheduled to appear in Genesee County District Court on Sept. 26 . Defense attorney Michael Manley told the Associated Press that DeLorenzo "maintains his innocence."
DeLorenzo is accused of fondling a young boy while performing blessings at Holy Redeemer Catholic School on Bristol Road in Burton around 2000.
He also was accused a few years later of abusing a young boy at St. Robert Catholic Church in Flushing. The alleged victim was 22 when he reported the abuse that happened when he was about 5 years old.
The diocese says seven other people have come forward with allegations against DeLorenzo.