LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A former Lansing Diocese priest has pled guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy.
In 2019, Vincent Delorenzo, 84, was one of the first priests charged in Attorney General Dana Nessel’s campaign to crack down on clergy abuse.
On Tuesday, Delorenzo pled guilty to one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct. He admitted to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy after a funeral service for the boy’s relative in 1987.
In exchange for the guilty plea, sexual assault charges from 1995-2000 were dismissed. Those charges allege that Delorenzo assaulted a student of Holy Redeemer School in Burton for five years.
While the crimes occurred over 10 years ago, Michigan’s statute of limitations are written in a way that, when a defendant leaves the state during the statute of limitations, the statute pauses, resuming when the defendant returns to the state.
“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,” Nessel continued.
Delorenzo’s arrest was part of an investigation into clergy abuse by the Department of Attorney General and the Michigan State Police.
Delorenzo will be sentenced on June 13 at 8:30 a.m. It’s expected that he will be sentenced to five years probation with the first year being served in the Genesee County Jail.
He will also likely have to register as a sex offender, attend sex offender counseling, pay restitution, and hear victim impact statements.
According to Nessel’s office, the Diocese of Lansing cooperated with the investigation.
The Diocese commended the bravery of the victims who share their testimony against DeLorenzo.
“DeLorenzo’s actions were as gravely immoral as they were illegal, he besmirched the good name of the Catholic priesthood, he betrayed the trust put in him by the Catholic community of the Diocese of Lansing and, most disturbingly, he damaged the lives in his young victims,” said David Kerr, the spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing.