“Judge to help diocese deal with sex abuse claims” & related articles

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Judge Michael Talbot speaks during a press conference in the diocese offices, Friday, April 13, 2018, in Saginaw, Mich. Talbot, who is retiring soon, will help the Saginaw Roman Catholic Diocese deal with allegations of sexual abuse by priests.Jacob Hamilton / AP

SAGINAW, Mich. — A Roman Catholic bishop on Friday announced the appointment of a prominent judge to handle complaints of sexual abuse by priests in central Michigan, but police responded by urging victims to contact investigators instead.

Michael Talbot will help the Saginaw Catholic Diocese after he retires from the Michigan appeals court on April 25. The diocese has been under scrutiny since the Rev. Robert DeLand was charged in February with sex crimes against two males. Another priest, the Rev. Ron Dombrowski, has been suspended but not charged.

Bishop Joseph Cistone said Talbot will be independent and have “full authority” in all matters of alleged sexual abuse of minors.

“I need to hear from victims. … I especially have to hear from people who have been hesitant to come forward,” Talbot told reporters.

He promised to share information with police when necessary. But in response, a Saginaw-area police team that’s continuing to investigate DeLand and the diocese said the public should contact authorities with allegations of sexual abuse, not church representatives.

“We respectfully disagree with the procedure” announced by Cistone, investigators said in a statement released by the Saginaw County prosecutor. “The diocese cannot and should not be used as a clearinghouse for the reporting of crimes by victims. That is the function of law enforcement.”

Police recently seized records from church properties, including Cistone’s home.

Cistone, who is being treated for cancer, said he appointed Talbot because the 11-county diocese needs a “fresh start” during a “very distressing time.”

Hours after Cistone’s announcement, the diocese posted the names of four former priests and a former deacon who were removed from religious duties years ago due to “credible allegations” of sexual abuse of children.

They are Stanislaus Bur, John Hammer, Richard Howard, Jack Leipert and Leonard Wilkuski, according to the diocese.

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Diocese of Saginaw names 5 other church leaders accused of sexual abuse

MLive                        Michigan

SAGINAW TWP., MI — Amid a sex abuse probe, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has released the names of five former priest they claim were removed from ministry because of credible claims of alleged sex abuse of minors.

On Friday, April 13, The Most Rev. Bishop Joseph R. Cistone announced that Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Talbot will serve as the diocese’s independent delegate to review sexual misconduct.

The announcement of Talbot as an independent delegate comes nearly a month after Cistone’s home, along with two diocese properties, were raided by police.

Cistone also announced that along with two priests who are currently on administrative leave and under investigation, five more former priest names would be released.

According to the diocese, since the the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and Essential Norms by the Bishops of the United States in 2002, the following clerics were permanently removed from ministry due to credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors:

Each priest mentioned has been defrocked.

The church did not release additional information on the former religious leaders.

Talbot, the Diocese’s independent delegate, is a Catholic who wrote the first Victim’s Rights Law for the State of Michigan and was responsible for implementing the law in courts and law enforcement agencies in Wayne County, according to biographical information on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s webpage.

He’s also member of the board of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Detroit, chairman of the Advisory Board of St. John’s Center for Family and Youth and a member of the Catholic Lawyers Society Board of Directors.

Currently, the Rev. Robert “Father Bob” DeLand, was suspended after he was arrested and charged Feb. 26 with three felonies on accusations he sexually assaulted a 21-year-old man and 17-year-old boy in his Saginaw Township condominium within the past year.

DeLand is charged with attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct, gross indecency between males and a single count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing injury.

DeLand most recently was assigned to St. Agnes Church in Freeland. He also has led Catholic churches and schools in Bay County.

DeLand was re-arrested on Thursday, April 5, and charged with multiple additional charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury, assault with intent to commit second-degree criminal sexual conduct, manufacturing or distributing an imitation controlled substance, and selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor.

 

Second Saginaw Diocese priest suspended amid sexual abuse probe

In addition to DeLand’s suspension, in March the Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, 72, was suspended as a “precautionary measure” after a person told the diocese on March 15 that Dombrowski allegedly sexually abused them when they were a minor.

The diocese forwarded the complaint to law enforcement. Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said that no charges have been filed against Dombrowski.

Cistone ordered Dombrowski not to wear his clerical attire, present himself as a priest in public or perform ministry while the allegation is investigated.

Cistone also said he cannot have contact with people under 21, barring him from going on school properties and participating in school and parish activities and functions.

Before his suspension, Dombrowski preached at Holy Family Parish in Saginaw. Since 1972, Dombrowski has held numerous positions and posts within the Diocese of Saginaw.

The diocese said in a statement that it places no deadlines or time limits on reporting the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. To bring forward a complaint and/or to speak to the victim assistance coordinator contact 989-797-6682 or [email protected].

Earlier Friday, however, officals said victims of sexual abuse by priests should go to the police and not report it to the Diocese of Saginaw or its newly-named independent delegate.

Police say victims of sex abuse by priests should come to them, not Saginaw Diocese

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Police say victims of sex abuse by priests should come to them, not Saginaw Diocese

MLive      Michigan

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SAGINAW TWP, MI — Investigators say victims of sexual abuse by priests should go to the police and not report it to the Diocese of Saginaw or its newly-named independent delegate.

“We respectfully disagree with the procedure of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, announced by Bishop Cistone during today’s press conference, regarding the handling of allegations of abuse by Diocese officials and employees,” according to a statement released by law enforcement investigating the diocese.

The statement, issued Friday afternoon, April 13, came on the heels of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone announcing that Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Talbot will serve as the diocese’s independent delegate for the investigation.

Saginaw Diocese to name five additional priests with sexual abuse complaints

Talbot, who spoke and answered questions at the announcement press conference, implored victims to speak with him.

“I need to hear from those who have hesitated to come forward,” Talbot said.

But officials with the investigation team said the Diocese “cannot and should not be used as a clearing house for the reporting of crimes by victims.”

“That is the function of law enforcement. Any victims of abuse or other crimes should report their allegations directly to law enforcement as opposed to the Diocese or Judge Talbot, its independent delegate.”

Messages were left with the diocese, but MLive was unable to reach a spokesperson for comment.

Talbot, who is retiring from the bench on April 25, will act as a liaison between the diocese and media, prosecutors, police and others. Talbot will work voluntarily and will be independent from the diocese, reporting wrongdoing to police if needed, he said.

Talbot is a Catholic who wrote the first Victim’s Rights Law for the State of Michigan and was responsible for implementing the law in courts and law enforcement agencies in Wayne County, according to biographical information on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s webpage.

He’s also member of the board of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Detroit, chairman of the Advisory Board of St. John’s Center for Family and Youth and a member of the Catholic Lawyers Society Board of Directors.

The statement from the special investigative team formed to coordinate and investigate allegations of abuse involving “officials” within the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw said hiring Talbot appears to be a positive thing.

“While it would appear to be a positive thing that the Diocese is involving Judge Talbot to assist them in dealing with the situation they find themselves in, we fully expect Judge Talbot and the Diocese to turn over to law enforcement any information they receive,” the statement read.

The special investigative team was formed in March and is comprised of the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office, Saginaw Township Police Department, Tittabawassee Township Police Department, Michigan State Police, and various other state and federal agencies.

Saginaw Diocese parishioners call for Bishop Cistone to resign after raids

Nearly a month ago, police raided Cistone’s home and two diocese properties. The search warrants, which saw the seizing of documents, records and computers, were executed after prosecutors allege diocese officials failed to fully cooperate in the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse within the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

To date, only one diocese priest, the Rev. Robert DeLand, has been criminally charged in the sexual abuse probe. He was arrested Feb. 25 on accusations he sexually assaulted two males — a 21-year-old and a 17-year-old — in his Saginaw Township condominium.

Prosecutors issued further charges against DeLand last week, alleging he additionally sexually assaulted an 18-year-old man, furnished alcohol to a minor and was in possession of a controlled substance.

Saginaw Diocese priest charged with more offenses in sex assault scandal

He remains out on bond, but barred by the diocese from practicing as a minister. Another diocese priest, the Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, was suspended in early March by the diocese after they received a report he allegedly sexually assaulted a person when they were a minor. He has not been criminally charged.

Cistone said Friday he would release the names of five former priests from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw who had sexual abuse complaints. Talbot said the move is expected to help other victims come forward.

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