LANSING (WWJ) -- A former Flint-area priest has pled guilty to one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The plea mandates a lifetime registration as a sex offender, pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday that 84-year-old Vincent Delorenzo pled guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987.
In exchange for the guilty plea, remaining charges against Delorenzo will be dropped. These charges stem from the sexual assault of a child from 1995-2000 while he was a student at Holy Redeemer School and Church in Burton, about three miles outside of Flint.
“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 in a Press Release. “This guilty plea will hopefully close this painful chapter and open the opportunity for much-needed healing for those victimized by Delorenzo.”
While the crime occurred more than ten years ago, Michigan’s statute of limitations is stopped when a defendant leaves the state for any reason within the statute of limitations and resumes if and when the defendant returns to the state. Delorenzo was arrested in 2019 in Marion County, Florida.
The former Burton Holy Redeemer Church pastor was one of the first five priests charged by Nessel in May 2019.
Friday's plea is a result of consultation with the victims of Delorenzo.
"The clergy abuse team will not force a victim of sexual assault to testify in court and recognizes the trauma and re-victimization risks associated with a trial," Nessel added in the written statement. "The focus is and always will be on what is best for the victims of these egregious crimes. The defendant acknowledging his guilt and his acceptance of responsibility for the abuse he perpetrated was an important part of this healing process for the survivors of Delorenzo."
Pursuant to his plea agreement, it is expected that the defendant will be sentenced to five years’ probation, the first year of which will be served in the Genesee County Jail.
Delorenzo will also be mandated to register as sex offender pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act for a lifetime period. He will additionally be ordered to engage in sex offender counseling, pay restitution, and all his victims will have a chance to provide an impact statement at the time of Delorenzo’s sentencing hearing.
The defendant is a former priest with the Lansing Diocese. The Diocese of Lansing has continued to cooperate with the ongoing clergy abuse investigations.
Delorenzo's sentencing is scheduled for June 13 at 8:30 a.m.
To learn more about the AG’s investigation into clergy abuse or if you have any information, visit the Attorney General’s website. You can also submit a tip by calling 844-324-3374.