Sexual Abuse Claim Surfaces against Local Pastor

September 19, 2013

[with video]

The Catholic community is reacting to surfacing claims that a local pastor sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago.

The Springfield Catholic Diocese received the claim last week and have since asked Pastor Robert 'Bud' Degrand to temporarily withdraw from the four local parishes he currently serves.

The accusation now sits with the Morgan County State's Attorneys Office, where lawyers are scrutinizing the Statute of Limitations. Lawyers say it may be difficult to bring charges against Degrand since it has been so long.

It was in 1980 when Degrand led a community in faith at Our Savior Parish in Jacksonville. Degrand then went on to lead parishes in Winchester, Bluffs, Granite City and Siegel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville, where he still currently serves.

"During the investigation Father Degrand will be temporarily removed from his ministry," Sass said.

A move the diocese says does not mean Degrand is guilty.

"One of our priests from the Effingham area has been temporarily assigned to those four parishes that Father Degrand is pastor of and he remains pastor until the investigation makes a determination one way or the other," Sass said.

Meanwhile, people who knew Degrand are reacting. None of them would speak with us on camera but several people off camera said they were shocked.

Chris Robinson-- who did not know Degrand but lives down the street from Our Savior Parish-- is not shocked about this type of allegation.

"I mean these things are happening so often now. It still leaves a question in the community's mind as to whether or not it did or didn't happen as to whether it's being swept under a rug," Robinson said.

The diocese says they have strict policies in place and they take these accusations seriously.

As does the state's attorneys office, which probably will not have the Statute of Limitations on their side.

"It leaves a lot of questions. How do you prove something like that? How do you deal with it now as compared to then?" Robinson said.

The diocese is now urging any other possible victims to come forward.


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