Springfield Diocese to Investigate 1980 Abuse Accusation
September 20, 2013
NEOGA — A priest whose parishes include 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.
The Rev. 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 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. “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 Sept. 9. 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.
Paprocki and other church officials met with parishioners of the four parishes Wednesday in Sigel about DeGrand’s temporary withdrawal from the ministry.
The Rev. Sundry Ery has been named temporary administrator of the parishes. 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, according to the diocese.
The diocese said anyone with knowledge of any instance of sexual abuse of a minor should contact local law enforcement authorities or call the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Patricia Kornfeld, (217) 321-1155.