Saginaw nun helps parishioners following arrest of Catholic priest

Sister Janet helps Saint Agnes following the arrest of Father Bob DeLand. (Jesse Gonzales)

A week has gone by since Catholic priest, Father Bob DeLand, was arrested.

He worked at Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Freeland.

The 71-year-old priest is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old male and 21-year-old man.

While time has passed since the arrest a Saginaw nun, Sister Janet, said there is still so much work to do.

His arrest has weighed on many in the Catholic community, including Janet.

"It's painful," Sister Janet said. "It's very painful."

She is taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again.

She is not only counseling parishioners and helping them through this difficult time, but she is doing something about it.

"I try to turn my energy into, 'OK... what can we do?" she said. "It's a teaching moment."

Sister Janet is the Coordinator of the Office of Child and Youth Protection at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

She is in charge of programs that work to provide a safe environment for all God's children.

Through showing videos to handing out resources to parents and kids, she said programs like this were put into place back in 2003 in the wake of the Catholic church sexual abuse scandal uncovered by the Boston Globe.

"It was a sensitive time in the church," she said.

She said these programs are still used today.

The next meeting will be held on March 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Center for Ministry in Saginaw.

The address is 5802 Weiss Street.

For more information, you can contact the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

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