Police raid Michigan diocese while priest faces sex charges

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — Police in Michigan have raided three properties of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw following the recent arrest of a priest accused of committing sex crimes.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner says the warrants were executed Thursday after the diocese didn’t cooperate with authorities. Gaertner says he couldn’t disclose what officers were searching for. The searches were conducted at the diocesan offices, the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone and the rectory at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

The Rev. Robert DeLand of Freeland was charged Feb. 26 with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting two males, ages 21 and 17. The 71-year-old DeLand has pleaded not guilty. The diocese has suspended him and a second priest who hasn’t been charged.

Messages seeking comment were left for a diocesan representative.

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