Catholic priest told parole board his sexual misconduct with a teenager was “shameful, inappropriate”


SAGINAW, MI – During an interview for his potential parole, a Roman Catholic priest told state officials his sexual misconduct with a teenager was “shameful and inappropriate.”

Following the announcement on February 13 that the parole of Robert J. “Father Bob” DeLand Jr., 74, had been approved for parole, MLive-The Saginaw News submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Michigan Department of Corrections for parole board members. notes, recommendations and conclusions.

DeLand in March 2019 made a clear plea of ​​second-degree criminal sexual conduct, gross indecency between two men and the manufacture or distribution of a counterfeit controlled substance. Pleading without question as opposed to guilty, DeLand did not admit to committing any crime, although Saginaw County Circuit Chief Justice Darnell Jackson treated him as guilty when he convicted him in April. 2019 to two to 15 years in prison.

Parole Board member Sonia Amos-Warchock conducted a one-on-one interview with DeLand on December 7. Amos-Warchock took notes during his interview, but no transcripts of the priest’s textual statements were recorded.

In his notes, Amos-Warchock wrote that DeLand admitted the offenses he was convicted of. DeLand said “because there was attraction on my part, it was shameful and inappropriate. Sorry. (I) was drawn to him because I thought he was practical [sic], was supposed [sic] to give him help with the justice system and he was close to me.

DeLand further stated that he was “committed to ensuring that the behavior [sic] I was convicted will never happen again, have a support group to hold me accountable, sorry for the victim and the community. I’ll make atonement for it.

Amos-Warchock’s notes were reviewed by fellow parole board member Tim Flanagan. The two members then voted on Dec. 29 to approve DeLand’s parole. If their votes had been split, a third member would have broken the tie.

“With regard to the crime, we believe that the prisoner accepts responsibility,” the documents specify. “Regarding the personal story, we believe the prisoner identifies community support (and) recognizes the need for treatment.”

DeLand worked as a school tutor in prison, according to the documents. DeLand also refrained from any negative conduct while incarcerated and received no citation for misconduct, the documents said.

DeLand is currently incarcerated at Marquette Branch Prison on the Upper Peninsula. He is due to be released on parole on or around April 27 for a period of two years.

While on parole, DeLand must live at home or with a neighboring sister, who will help him financially and emotionally, according to the documents. DeLand also said he plans to “help give back” with community service, such as helping the homeless and providing clerical work with. Human sciences for prisoners.

The conditions of DeLand’s parole are that he does not access the Internet, does not own pornography, does not communicate with anyone under the age of 17, does not have alcohol or intoxicants, does not visit no bars and does not work, reside or be within 1000 feet of anything school safety zone. He must also register as a sex offender until October. 13, 2045, when he will be 98 years old.

Regarding DeLand’s future with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, the organization removed him from his priestly office on April 25, 2019. Prior to that, the agency put him on administrative leave on February 26, 2018.

“He is definitely prohibited from standing as a priest or exercising public ministry,” said Erin Looby Carlson, director of communications for the diocese.

A decision on the secularization of DeLand would come from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“We are awaiting a final decision from the Holy See regarding Robert DeLand’s priesthood status,” Looby Carlson said.

The diocese will not pay any salary, benefits or living expenses to DeLand, Looby Carlson said. DeLand will, however, receive income and benefits from the Diocese’s Priests’ Pension Plan, as he is invested in that program and is required by law to receive the benefits.

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