SAGINAW (ChurchMilitant.com) - Saginaw priest Fr. Robert Deland has been arraigned for a second time on charges of sexual assault. Deland appeared in the Saginaw County District Court by video from jail.
According to a statement by the Tittabawassee Township Police Department, Deland, 71, is being charged with the following:
1 Count — Controlled Substance-Imitation Manufacture or Distribution (Felony, 2 years)
1 Count — Criminal Sexual Conduct-Second Degree Assault (Felony, 5 years)
1 Count — Criminal Sexual Conduct-Second Degree-Personal Injury (Felony, 15 years)
1 Count — Alcohol-Selling/Furnishing to a Minor (Misdemeanor, 60 days in jail)
DeLand's attorney Alan Crawford said in a statement, "I am beyond shocked, not at what Fr. Deland did but the manner in which the police department operated. There is no criminal activity. There is no criminal intent. This is a man of God that was doing his job of serving his community and helping those in need."
A statement by Saginaw Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Boyd said, "We encourage other victims to continue to come forward so that those who are responsible for any attempt to cover up abuse of minors by priests are likewise brought to justice."
Deland's next court date is Friday, April 20 at 2:30 pm.
Church Militant reported the first arrest of Deland for sexual assault on February 26.
On March 3, Church Militant reported the explosion of sex abuse claims following Deland's arrest.
On March 22, Saginaw police raided the home of Saginaw Bp. Joseph Cistone, as well as the chancery and cathedral rectory.
Saginaw prosecutor Mark Gaertner told Church Militant in a statement, "Contrary to statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they have not. Therefore, it was necessary for law enforcement officials to utilize other investigative means and execute search warrants."