Neoga Priest Leaves Church Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Journal Gazette and Times-Courier
September 19, 2013
NEOGA (JG-TC) — A priest whose parishes include the one in Neoga withdrew from the ministry following an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor that reportedly took place more than 30 years ago, the Catholic Diocese of Springfield announced Thursday.
Father Robert “Bud” DeGrand, pastor of parishes in Sigel, Green Creek and Lillyville as well as Neoga, is cooperating with the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board that he temporarily withdraw from public ministry and from his ecclesiastical residence pending further investigation, according to a news release from the diocese.
The release said the alleged abuse was said to have occurred in 1980 when DeGrand was assigned to Our Saviour Parish in Jacksonville.
“The Springfield diocese takes such allegations very seriously,” Bishop Thomas John Paprocki said in the release. “We have a strict policy on sexual abuse of minors by church personnel that reflects our desire to safeguard the welfare of minors in our parishes, institutions and programs. It also reflects our determination to deal properly and decisively with any allegations of sexual abuse of minors.”
The allegation was received by the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator on Sept. 9, the news release said. On Sept. 13, the Diocesan Review Board found the allegation to have “a semblance of truth” and recommended that Paprocki begin a preliminary investigation, it said.
Also, as required by the diocesan policy, the diocese notified the state's attorney's office in Morgan County, where the alleged abuse is said to have occurred, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, according to the news release.
The release also said Paprocki and other church officials met with parishioners of the four parishes on Wednesday in Sigel to inform them of the reason for DeGrand’s temporary withdrawal from the ministry.
The purpose of temporary withdrawal is to provide quickly an opportunity to assess the risk to minors, the urgent needs of the church and the situation of the accused priest, Paprocki said.
The release also said Father Sundry Ery has been named temporary administrator of the parishes. It said Ery has served as parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua and Sacred Heart parishes in Effingham and at Annunciation Parish in Shumway.
DeGrand, 61, was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1980, and he has also served parishes in Jacksonville, Winchester, Bluffs and Granite City, the release said.