Former Flint-area priest pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 5-year-old

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a former priest with the Lansing Diocese pleaded guilty to one count of attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Vincent DeLorenzo, 84, formerly of Flint, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 5-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987, the Attorney General’s office said.

The AG’s office said in exchange for DeLorenzo’s guilty plea, his remaining charges will be dropped. Those charges involved the sexual assault of a child from 1995-2000 when that child was a student at a parochial school in Burton.

“Our team continues to work day and night to bring an end to an era of abuse that has hidden in plain sight for far too long and provide justice to those who have suffered years of unimaginable trauma,” said Nessel. “This guilty plea will hopefully close this painful chapter and open the opportunity for much-needed healing for those victimized by DeLorenzo.”

The AG’s office said the plea was a result of consultation with the victims of DeLorenzo, adding because of the victim-centered approach to sexual assault investigations, great deference is provided to victims. The AG’s office said victims of sexual assault are not forced to testify in court because of trauma and re-victimization risks associated with a trial.

DeLorenzo acknowledging his guilt and accepting responsibility for this abuse was an important part of the healing process for the survivors, the AG’s office said.

The AG’s office said DeLorenzo’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 13 at 8:30 a.m., adding that he is expected to be sentenced to 5 years of probation, the first year of which will be served in the Genesee County jail. DeLorenzo will also be required to register as a sex offender, engage in sex offender counseling, and pay restitution.

The AG’s office said all victims will have the opportunity to read an impact statement during the sentencing hearing.

The Diocese of Lansing praised the bravery of the victims in a press release on Tuesday.

“It was the bravery of those victims who came forward with testimony against DeLorenzo that helped to secure today’s conviction – for that, those individuals have our gratitude, our support, and, of course, our prayers that they find both healing and peace,” said David Kerr, spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing.

The Diocese said the conviction will now allow them to pursue laicization for DeLorenzo.

AG’s office said the Diocese of Lansing is continuing to cooperate with ongoing clergy abuse investigations.

If you have any tips about these investigations, call 844-324-3374.

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