Davenport priest mentioned in Iowa Attorney General’s review of clergy sexual abuse

The Dispatch-Argus [Davenport IA]

June 24, 2021

By Emily Andersen

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, investigated in 2020 for sexual assault allegations, was discussed in a report released Wednesday by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Tom Miller conducted a more than two-year review of clergy sexual abuse in the state of Iowa, analyzing records involving about 70 Catholic priests and looking into 50 complaints of sexual abuse and misconduct reported to the attorney general.

The report outlines the process of the review and goes through the abuse policies in each of the four Iowa dioceses, concluding that while the Catholic Church in Iowa had a long, painful history of sexual abuse by priests and cover-up by their leadership, the Catholic Church has enacted many reforms over the last two decades.

“Sexual abuse took place over decades. The complaints, the victims, the duration of the abuse were overwhelming,” the report stated. “Our hearts go out to the victims of these acts. The consequences are severe and lifelong.”

In the section about the Des Moines Diocese, the attorney general discusses the investigation into Grant, a professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, which began after the Attorney General started his review in November 2018.

The Des Moines Diocese began investigating Grant in March 2020 for sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s, when he was serving at St. Albert’s High School in Council Bluffs.

Grant was suspended from ministering as a priest and teaching at St. Ambrose from March 2020 until November 2020, while the investigation was ongoing.

Although the investigation established misconduct, the allegation did not meet the criteria to take to the Vatican for further review or canonical trial, and Grant was returned to ministry in November.

For remedial purposes, the Rev. William Joensen, bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, imposed restrictions on Grant’s ministry and supervision of his activities, which will be in place until at least November 2021.

The restrictions are:

  • No touch policy for anyone younger than 24 years old except for exchanging the sign of peace with handshake or offering blessing during public celebration of the sacraments.
  • All one-to-one ministry with individuals up to 24 years of age, including the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation (confession), or other academic support is to be in an accessible space visible to the public.
  • No individual meeting in a rectory, parish, academic or other setting is permitted when no else is present in the building or natural space (park, outdoor campus setting, etc.).
  • Any offsite ministry, course-related or social gatherings with individuals up to 24 years of age must have an adult older than age 24 present.

Fr. Grant’s suspension from teaching at the university was lifted beginning in the Spring 2021 semester. He is required to abide by the restrictions imposed by the Diocese of Des Moines while with St. Ambrose University students and employees.

The attorney general’s report said the Davenport Diocese added the Rev. John Ryan to the list of credible allegations against priests, brothers and lay employees in 2021.

“Ryan, who died in 1992, had been accused of sexually abusing three male minors. The abuse occurred dating back to 1946, and information was provided to the Diocese in 2008 and 2016,” the report said.

Deacon David Montgomery, Chancellor of the Diocese of Davenport, said in a press release that the diocese has not had a founded report of child sexual abuse that occurred in the last 33 years. 

“I apologize for abuse by clergy that occurred in the past,” Montgomery said in the release. “Our efforts are inspired by the teachings of Jesus and his Church: that it is right and good to respond to the sin and crime of clergy sexual abuse with sorrow, repentance, amendment of life, justice, and efforts to repair the harm done.”