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Saginaw priest arrested a second time on new sexual assault charges

Saginaw County Jail

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has been arrested for a second time on sexual assault charges.

Father Robert Deland was arrested for the first time on Feb. 25, and charged with sexual assault of two victims, a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy.

Those charges included second degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency.

Deland was released with a GPS tether device, and was arrested again on April 5 on four additional charges.

Three of the charges related to the 17-year-old victim from his previous arrest. Another charge was added for a new 18-year-old man who came forward after Deland's first arrest.

The 18-year-old man says he was sexually assaulted by Deland in St. Agnes church in Freeland, Michigan in May 2017. The victim's father says that he reported the incident to the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, but the Diocese did not respond or report the alleged assault to the police. 

The four new charges are:

  • 1 count of controlled substance manufacture or distribution
  • 1 count criminal sexual conduct, second degree assault
  • 1 count criminal sexual conduct, second degree personal injury
  • 1 count selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor

The new charges combined are punishable by more than 22 years in prison. 
The Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office and the Tittabawassee Township Police have formed a special investigative team to look into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic Priests of the Saginaw Diocese. In addition to investigating allegations against Deland, they are investigating the Diocese. A representative of the Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office says that no other priests have been charged.

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