Spgfld Bishop Pays Predator Priest's Lawyer

May 4, 2015

Spriingfield’s Catholic bishop is using church funds to pay the legal fees for a credibly accused and permanently removed predator priest.


We’re glad that, if Bishop Thomas Paprocki keeps his promise, Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand won’t ever work in a parish again. But Paprocki has handled this case irresponsibly from the beginning and he continues to do so now.


We urge Paprocki to

--stop using parishioner donations to buy a lawyer for an ousted pedophile priest

--put notices about Fr. DeGrand and the credible accusations against him on the diocesan website

--do the same with parish bulletins and websites across the diocese

--beg, in each notice, all victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police

--visit each church where Fr. DeGrand has worked, making the same plea in person, and

--turn over, to law enforcement agencies in every county where he worked, his personnel file.

Taking these simple, inexpensive and proven prevention steps will boost the chances that Fr. DeGrand could be prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids.

Taking these steps will also be a way to mitigate the damage caused by Paprocki’s reckless and callous secrecy in this case. He kept the allegations hidden for weeks, giving Fr. DeGrand plenty of time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, fabricate alibis and even potentially flee the country.


(Remember: Every day a child sex abuse report is kept hidden, a child sex abuser is free to keep abusing. Every day of secrecy and delay makes it harder for police and prosecutors to pursue child predators.)

And 1.5 years ago, Paprocki refused to even respond to our pleas that he personally go to parishes in Jacksonville, Winchester, Bluffs, Granite City, and other places where Fr. DeGrand worked to seek out and offer help to others who may have been assaulted by the priest.

Current and former Springfield area Catholic employees should show the kind of courage and compassion Paprocki refuses to show. They should call police, prosecutors and groups like ours with any information or suspicions they may have about Fr. DeGrand.

And anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. DeGrand or cover ups by Paprocki should summon the strength to do the same.

That’s how kids will be kept safe. That’s how wrongdoers will be punished. That’s how wrongdoing will be deterred. And that’s how long suffering child sex abuse victims will be healed.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,

Bishop permanently removes area priest as pastor

Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2015 3:09 pm

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki spoke today with parishioners of Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville regarding the status of the case concerning Father Robert “Bud” DeGrand. Bishop Paprocki stated that progress on the case has been impeded consistently by Father DeGrand’s lack of cooperation.

Bishop Paprocki reviewed with parishioners what has transpired:

In January 2014 the Diocesan Review Board unanimously found that the allegation against Father Robert DeGrand of clerical sexual misconduct with a minor was credible.

On September 20, 2014, Bishop Paprocki met with parishioners in Sigel and reported that Father DeGrand’s case was pending at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

One week later, Bishop Paprocki received a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith referring the case back to him. The letter was dated September 10, 2014? however, due to the time it takes for mail to be sent from the Vatican by diplomatic channels through the Vatican’s Embassy in Washington, D.C., the letter did not arrive until after the September 20, 2014 meeting in Sigel.

A rumor circulated that the letter from the Vatican “cleared” Father DeGrand and dismissed the charges against him. That rumor was not and is not true. The Vatican letter stated that a canonical trial could not take place due to “prescription,” which is the terminology used in canon law to describe the more familiar “statute of limitations” in civil law, which in most cases, prevents initiating legal action because the passage of time since the allegation was filed exceeds a certain time frame. It should be noted that Bishop Paprocki requested that the Vatican issue a waiver of prescription allowing a trial to proceed to determine Father DeGrand’s guilt or innocence, however, Father DeGrand did not agree and instead insisted that the trial be barred.

Accordingly, the Vatican did not authorize a trial on the question of guilt or innocence of the allegations against Father DeGrand, but instead entrusted the matter to Bishop Paprocki’s “prudence and good judgment” as diocesan bishop and cited his authority under canon 223 of the Code of Canon Law “to deal with this case directly” to determine Father DeGrand’s “suitability for publicministry.”

The distinction in practice is that there would be no trial to impose a penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, but rather Bishop Paprocki was directed to make an administrative decision about whether it was suitable to return Father DeGrand to public ministry as pastor or remove him from public ministry for the protection of minors.

Since the Diocesan Review Board had made a unanimous finding that the allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Father DeGrand was credible, Bishop Paprocki informed Father DeGrand that he would have an opportunity to meet again with the Review Board to present any pertinent information to reverse the Review Board’s finding. Father DeGrand refused to meet again with the Review Board. The Review Board asked both Father DeGrand and his accuser to take a lie­detector test. Father DeGrand’s accuser said he would be willing to take a lie­detector test. Father DeGrand refused to take a lie­detector test.

The Review Board asked Father DeGrand to return for a re­evaluation at Guest House in Minnesota, where he was treated for alcohol abuse in 1996. Father DeGrand refused. Instead he asked to see a psychiatrist in Pennsylvania. Bishop Paprocki agreed to this if Father DeGrand would release the results of the psychiatric report to the Review Board so they could advise Bishop Paprocki on his suitability for ministry. Father DeGrand refused to do so. Moreover, Father DeGrand did not fully disclose information to the psychiatrist, thus compromising the psychiatrist’s ability to render accurate conclusions.

While the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was “unable to document credible evidence of child abuse and/or neglect in the investigation,” the DCFS investigation addressed present risk to children, but DCFS conducted no investigation about the allegation from the 1980s.

The Catholic Church has its own independent process with a higher standard of suitability for ministry. In order to facilitate the canonical process to proceed without disruption, Catholic Church policies require the accused priest in such cases to be on administrative leave and to live away from his assignment while the case is pending. A private house in Springfield was arranged for Father DeGrand to use as his residence free of charge while on administrative leave, but Father DeGrand refused to move there. After Bishop Paprocki gave him a direct order to comply with the policy and move to the house, he refused, thereby breaking the promise of obedience to his bishop that he made when he was ordained. As a penalty for his disobedience, Father DeGrand was suspended and his compensation was reduced from full salary, which he had been receiving from the diocese since he was put on administrative leave, to a monthly stipend for room and board. The diocese continues to provide compensation for his support. The diocese is also paying his attorney’s fees. Father DeGrand 5/4/2015 Bishop permanently removes area priest as pastor ­ Effingham Daily News: Local News continues to refuse to move and as a result will remain suspended from all ministries.

In light of Father DeGrand’s refusal to cooperate with the process to determine his suitability to return to ministry, Bishop Paprocki concluded that he has no choice but to remove him permanently as pastor of the parishes of St. Michael the Archangel in Sigel, St. Mary of the Assumption in Neoga, St. Mary Help of Christians in Green Creek and Sacred Heart in Lillyville, effective immediately.

Based on the unanimous recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board and Bishop Paprocki’s own assessment of the information available indicating conclusively that it would not be responsible to allow Father DeGrand to return to public ministry.

Father Sunder Ery will continue as Parochial Administrator of these parishes.








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