The parents of an underage teen boy who was sexually assaulted by a priest say the religious leader “groomed” their son for a sexual relationship.
We have been following the story of Rev. Robert DeLand (a.k.a. “Father Bob”), who police say sexually assaulted two males, including a 17-year-old boy, since March. Earlier this month, after being arrested for the second time, he had the nerve to play the victim, saying the troubled young boy was sent to “seduce” him.
Now, thanks to a search warrant just made public, we are learning more about the situation surrounding the arrests of DeLand. Despite Father Bob’s claim that he was being framed by police, the warrant reveals it was the parents who initiated the investigation.
According to the search warrant, on Nov. 2, 2017, the teen boy’s parents came to police with concerns that there was suspicious and inappropriate behavior toward their son by DeLand.
The parents said their son was assigned to do community service under DeLand for a minor-in-possession charge he faced. According to the parents, DeLand seemed to be stalking their son, according to the warrant.
The parents felt “Father Bob is possibly grooming their son for a homosexual relationship with him,” the warrant states.
The 17-year-old Freeland High School student told detectives in Tittabawassee Township that DeLand’s behavior “freaked him out.”
I would be freaked out, too. DeLand has multiple accusations on his record, and they all sound eerily familiar. In this case, the boy said the priest gave him cash every single time they saw each other, including for a “hug.”
The teen was approached by DeLand during his 4th-hour gym class. DeLand asked the teen if he had $20. The teen told him he did not. DeLand then asked him to come to an empty room outside of the gym where he gave him $20 and asked for a hug.
Without warning, according to the warrant, DeLand started rubbing the teen’s buttocks.
The teen told investigators he was “very upset and wanted to punch Father Bob.”
The boy’s parents called the police, and they used audio surveillance to hear the priest encouraging him to smoke cigarettes and saying he loved him. Ultimately, the priest was heard asking the boy how he felt about two men having sex and about what he does when he’s “extremely horny.” Things got worse from there.
DeLand picked the teen up from home and drove him to his condo. During the drive, DeLand encouraged the teen to watch gay porn and said they should “chill” together all day and smoke some marijuana and drink alcohol, according to the warrant.
DeLand gave the teen $50 and told him he loved him before dropping him off, according to the warrant…
At the church rectory, DeLand asked the teen about anal sex and offered his condo as a place he could use for sex, according to the warrant. DeLand then encouraged the teen to get drunk and skip school the following day.
There’s no shortage of evidence here, and it’s abundantly clear that DeLand’s previous excuses are quickly falling away. He used his position as a religious authority to take advantage of a vulnerable kid and there’s no excuse for that.