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Diocese: Priest charged with sex crimes was cleared in 2005

March 9, 2018

Roman Catholic priest Robert Deland is arraigned Monday, Feb.26, 2018, on one count of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree sexual conduct and one count of gross indecency between male persons via video from the Saginaw County Jail in the courtroom of Saginaw County District Judge M. Randall Jurrens in Saginaw, Mich. (Jacob Hamilton/The Saginaw News via AP)

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw says a Michigan priest who recently was charged with sex crimes was cleared following a 2005 investigation into suspicion of possible molestation.

The diocese released the update Thursday about 71-year-old Rev. Robert DeLand of St. Agnes Church in Freeland. He was charged last month and the diocese initially said that to the best of its knowledge DeLand previously hadn’t faced “accusations of priestly misconduct.”

Following further review, the diocese found that a person in 2005 reported that she wondered whether DeLand in the 1970s might have molested her brother, who died in 1993. The diocese says church officials and the family agreed the suspicion was unfounded after an investigation.

Police say they’ve received other complaints since DeLand’s arrest. A new law enforcement taskforce is investigating.

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