Allegation against Father Degrand Is Found to Be Credible
By Greg Sapp
January 13, 2014
The preliminary investigation of an allegation of clerical sexual misconduct with a minor said to have occurred over 30 years ago has been concluded in the case of Father Robert "Bud" DeGrand. After examining the results of the preliminary investigation, the Diocesan Review Board unanimously found that the allegation against Father DeGrand is credible.
Father DeGrand is pastor of parishes in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville, in the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
In keeping with the Code of Canon Law, the case will now be forwarded to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for further proceedings.
It should be noted that the finding of the Diocesan Review Board is not a final conclusion about guilt or innocence, but addresses whether the allegation by the accuser and other information are sufficient to reasonably suspect that the accused has engaged in sexual abuse of a minor. The function of the Diocesan Review Board in church law is analagous to a grand jury in civil law, which investigates potential criminal conduct and determines whether criminal charges should be brought. However, a grand jury does not conduct the actual criminal trial or make a final determination of guilt or innocence.
Since cases involving allegations or clerical sexual abuse of minors are among the more grave offenses reserved to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the case will now proceed towards a final determination.
In the meantime, Father DeGrand will continue to be on leave from public ministry and from his ecclesiastical residence. Father Sunder Ery will continue as temporary parochial administrator of the parishes at Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville while the process is pending.
As required by the diocesan policy, the diocese has notified the Morgan County State's Attorney, since that is the county where the alleged abuse is said to have occurred, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
After an investigation of the report, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has determined it "was unable to document credible evidence of child abuse and/or neglect in the investigation." This means essentially that children are not presently at risk, but no definitive conclusion could be reached about the allegation from the 1980s.
More about the diocesan policies and safe environment programs is available on the diocesan website at www.dio.org/safeenvironment.
The Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is 130 parishes in 28 counties in central Illinois.