Police raiding Catholic Diocese of Saginaw facilities to investigate priest sex allegations
(3/22/2018) - Police were serving search warrants Thursday in connection with the investigation of Saginaw area priests.
A contingent of law enforcement officials from multiple agencies raided Bishop Joseph Cistone's residence, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices and St. Mary's Cathedral in Saginaw.
Police obtained the three search warrants that were being executed as part of the investigation that started Feb. 25 with the arrest of the Rev. Robert DeLand.
Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said Cistone and the diocese have not lived up to promises to support investigators looking into sexual abuse allegations against DeLand and other church officials.
"Contrary to the statements from the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Gaertner said. "Therefore, it was necessary for law enforcement to utilize other investigative tools, including search warrants."
Police have not said what types of evidence they are hoping to find at the three locations.
DeLand, the priest at St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, is accused of three sexual related crimes in two incidents first reported in August and November of 2017.
A 22-year-old of Saginaw Township and a 17-year-old of Tittabawassee Township accuse DeLand of sexually abusing them at his condominium on Mallard Cove and the rectory of St. Agnes Parish.
After his arrest, police asked anyone to call in tips with any information they had about possible other incidents involving DeLand and other clergy in the diocese. Dozens of tips came in and a task force was set up.
DeLand has been suspended from the priesthood while legal proceedings against him continue. He also is prohibited from having contact with anyone under age 21 while free on bond with an GPS tether.
The Rev. Robert Dombrowski, a senior priest with the diocese currently serving at Holy Family Parish in Saginaw, also has been suspended after allegations against him were reported last week.
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