Saginaw priest accused of sexual assault removed from public ministry

The Rev. Robert DeLand
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SAGINAW (WJRT) (3/1/2018) - The Rev. Robert DeLand will keep his title for now, but the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has barred him from serving as a priest in public.

The Most Rev. Joseph Cistone, who is bishop of the Saginaw diocese, announced Thursday that he has prohibited DeLand from wearing clerical garb or presenting himself as a priest.

DeLand was placed on administrative leave on Monday, hours after the diocese learned of criminal charges for alleged sexual assault filed against him.

He is facing two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of gross indecency involving males. A 22-year-old from Freeland accused DeLand of sexual assault in August and a 17-year-old alleged he was sexually assaulted beginning in November.

The alleged sexual assaults took place in the rectory at St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, where DeLand served as pastor, and at his condominium on Mallard Cove in Saginaw Township.

DeLand was arraigned on Monday and released on bond with a GPS tether. He has been banned from Freeland Community Schools property, where he served as a volunteer, and ordered to have no contact with any under age 21.

Since the allegations were announced late Sunday, police say dozens of other potential victims have come forward to allege sexual misconduct allegations against DeLand.

Cistone reiterated that the church is requiring DeLand abide by his bond conditions and avoid all parish functions. The ministerial restrictions will remain in place until criminal proceedings against DeLand are complete.