Saginaw, Mich., Mar 22, 2018 / 14:37 pm
On Thursday, police in Saginaw, Michigan raided the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone, as well as the diocesan chancery and its cathedral rectory, as part of an ongoing investigation into sex abuse allegations against several diocesan priests.
CNA has reached out to the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
Police told local media that they could not reveal what they were searching for or taking from the properties. However, authorities did say that the search warrants were due to a lack of cooperation on the part of the diocese related to an ongoing clerical sex abuse investigation.
"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner told local news source Michigan Live. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."
Gaertner told Michigan Live that search warrants were executed on Thursday at Bishop Cistone’s home as well as on the rectory of the diocesan cathedral and on the diocesan offices.
Two priests have been placed on leave from their duties after a recent wave of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in the diocese.
Last month, Fr. Robert Deland, a Saginaw priest and pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of gross indecency between male persons, and one count of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct/personal injury, following the accusations of a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old high school student.
DeLand, who also served as judicial vicar for the Diocese of Saginaw, was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. He was also banned from school properties and from presenting himself as a priest.