A local priest is behind bars for claims of sexual assault crimes.
Father Robert Deland, Jr. was first accused of sexual assault in August of 2017 at his home on Mallard Cove in Saginaw Township, according to Det. Brian Berg with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department. A police investigation began that November.
"At no time were students or others in danger during this covert law-enforcement operation," Berg wrote in a press release.
Five complaints have been filed against Deland since then, including claims of giving alcohol to a minor, sexual assault, illegally purchasing and possessing Ecstasy, and gross indecency.
As a result, the 71-year-old Catholic priest is now banned from Freeland Community Schools and the CAN Council where he serves as a board member.
The incidents are still under investigation. Berg said once finished, the investigation will be turned over to the Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office for review.