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Michigan priest backs out of plea agreement in sex case

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A 71-year-old Catholic priest in Michigan has backed out of a plea agreement in a criminal sexual conduct case and is expected to face trial.

The Saginaw News reports the Saginaw County prosecutor’s office says the Rev. Robert DeLand withdrew the plea on Friday.

Defense lawyer Alan Crawford told WJRT-TV that Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge Darnell Jackson decided that DeLand should face a tougher sentence than one agreed to by prosecutors.

Prosecutors say DeLand would have been considered a sex offender , even if he didn’t go to prison. He pleaded no contest in September to criminal sexual conduct and six other charges. He was expected to serve a year in jail.

DeLand was pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland. The victims are three males.

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