A high-ranking priest was arrested on Monday the 25th for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old man.
Father Robert DeLand is the priest in question. He is the pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Freeland, Michigan.
Local police (from two different departments because DeLand’s exploits extended multiple jurisdictions) had been watching DeLand for months.
The police started their monitoring after hearing complaints from a 17-year-old and his parents about the priest’s predatory behavior. The boy had originally been made to work with DeLand as court ordered community service. That complaint came around August 7, 2017.
Afterwards, more complaints came in between November 7, 2017 and the day of his arrest. The second alleged victim, who’s 21, gave an almost identical report of how DeLand had approached and violated him. This led to police starting the investigation against him on November 2, 2017.
DeLand has now been charged with attempt to commit criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and attempt to commit gross indecency between males (which means he tried to have sexual contact with another man who didn’t want it). Both charges could separately have DeLand in prison for up to five years in prison.
As LifeSiteNews reports, the press conference after DeLand’s arrest brought forth even more news.
“Since the police announced DeLand’s arrest, they have been ‘inundated by a number calls from individuals alleging similar acts over the last 30 years,’ an officer said at the press conference.”
On top of that, the priest is also accused of giving alcohol to a minor and buying ecstasy. That said, he hasn’t been charged for these crimes.
Now that he’s been arrested, multiple communities in Freeland are now waking up to the story of his crimes.
DeLand has been banned from the Freeland Community Schools and any properties belonging to the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay region (an anti-child abuse organization), which he was a board member and donor of.
“He was a board member for a very short period of time over this last year,” Suzanne Greenberg, President and CEO of the CAN Council, told LifeSiteNews. “And the board has taken action and he has been removed from the board. He only attended two board meetings and he has not ever been in interaction at all with children in his time here.”
In addition, the Diocese of Saginaw has placed DeLand on administrative leave.
While he waits for his next court hearing on March 12, Father Robert DeLand has been released on bond. That said, he’s not totally free as he’s being monitored with a GPS tracker.
On top of that, DeLand has been forbidden from contacting any of his victims or anyone under 21 (after he asked the judge of the names of his accusers).