Saginaw-area priest arrested on sex assault allegations

Associated Press

Saginaw – The Rev. Robert DeLand appeared in court Monday on three charges, including second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The 71-year-old is pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland and has been a longtime priest in the Saginaw Diocese.

DeLand was released on bond but must wear an electronic tether at his home in Saginaw Township. He can’t have contact with anyone under 21. His attorney says the priest has helped “not hundreds but thousands” of people.

Police say they’ve received several complaints about DeLand since August. He had been under surveillance since November, although police say kids were not in danger during the covert operation.

Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone says he’s “deeply distressed” by the allegations.