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Saginaw prosecutor expands Catholic Church sexual assault investigation

St. Agnes Parish in Freeland
Diocese of Saginaw
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Father Bob, as he was known by parishioners, served at St. Agnes Parish. He is listed as being on administrative leave.

Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan Jr. assigned the investigation of sexual abuse involving officials in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw to a special team that will work with Saginaw and Tittabawassee police and the Michigan State Police, as well as state and federal agencies. The move follows sexual assault charges against Rev. Robert DeLand, Jr. filed last month.

DeLand has been charged with assaulting a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy at his home in Saginaw Township. Since then, the prosecutor's office has received numerous tips related to alleged abuse going back to the 1970s. DeLand is pastor of St. Agnes Church in Freeland, Michigan. He has since been placed on administrative leave.

In remarks to the congregation of St. Agnes, Bishop Joseph Cistone said that the recent allegations against DeLand were "the first indication we had of this issue." The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is encouraging victims to come forward.

The prosecutor's office has established several channels for victims and others with information about abuse to contact authorities.

For alleged abuse occurring in Saginaw Township, the contact is Detective Scott Jackson at (989) 791-7226. For alleged abuse occurring in Tittabawassee Township, Detective Brian Berg is available at (989) 695-9623. For other areas of Saginaw County or surrounding counties, call Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Chris Siegert at (989) 495-5555.

Tips can also be sent by email to abusetips@saginawcounty.com.

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