Police in Michigan have raided two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone.
The raids took place on Thursday March 22nd as part of an ongoing investigation into rife child sexual abuse in the church and the subsequent cover up.
Gov’t Slaves reports: According to Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner, the police raids were necessary because the church was refusing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into a torrent of sexual abuse allegations.
“Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not,” Gaertner said. “Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants.”
As MLive reports, Gaertner said search warrants were executed at the bishop’s home on Corral Drive in Saginaw Township, the rectory at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township.
The scandal seems to be exploding the face of the church after one of their priests was arrested last month. Rev. Robert DeLand has been criminally charged after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old and a child—both males—and both in his Saginaw Township residence paid for by the church.
DeLand’s arrest sparked a myriad of complaints alleging further sex abuse against adults and children alike, involving other members of the clergy. The complaints date as far back as the 1980’s which have flooded police departments, according to investigators.
Highlighting the breadth of the abuse, another priest was just suspended by the diocese after a minor came forward with allegations that he abused him. The diocese priest, Rev. Ronald J. Dombrowski, however, has yet to be charged.
According to MLive, six years ago, Cistone was accused of misleading a grand jury by not acknowledging that he witnessed the shredding of documents that contained the names of priests suspected of child molestation in 1994 while he was serving as a church official in the Philadelphia area. He never faced any criminal charges in that case.
The shredding of documents and failure of the clergy to cooperate with authorities—essentially protecting child rapists—should come as no surprise given the sordid history of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.