Degrand Removed As Pastor at Four Parishes

By Bre Linstromberg Copper
Journal Courier
May 5, 2015

Former Jacksonville priest Robert “Bud” DeGrand has been permanently removed as pastor at four Catholic parishes in the state and is barred from public ministry.

The decision to remove DeGrand was based on the unanimous recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki’s assessment of the information available, according to a news release from the Diocese of Springfield.

The review board had been investigating an accusation against DeGrand involving clerical sexual misconduct with a minor said to have occurred in 1980, while DeGrand was assigned to Our Saviour Parish in Jacksonville.

DeGrand has been on administrative leave from public ministry since the allegation first surfaced in September 2013.

DeGrand’s removal is not directly related to the allegation but to his refusal to comply with Paprocki’s order that DeGrand move to a private home in Springfield while on administrative leave.

DeGrand is currently living in Sigel, but not on parish property, said Marlene Mulford of the Diocese of Springfield Office of Communications.

Church policy requires an accused priest to be on administrative leave and to live away from his assignment while the case is pending.

“After Bishop Paprocki gave him a direct order to comply with the policy and move to the house (in Springfield), he refused, thereby breaking the promise of obedience to his bishop that he made when he was ordained,” the news release said. “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 also is paying DeGrand’s attorney’s fees.

The allegation of sexual misconduct was received by the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator on Sept. 9, 2013. Four days later, the diocesan review board found the allegation to have “a semblance of truth” and sent the group’s determination to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which referred the case back to Paprocki.

The Vatican stated that a canonical trial could not take place because of “prescription,” the term used in canon law to describe “statute of limitations” in civil law. Paprocki requested that the Vatican issue a waiver of prescription that would have allowed a trial to proceed.

The Vatican did not authorize a trial but instead entrusted the matter to Paprocki, citing his authority under the Code of Canon Law “to deal with this case directly” in determining DeGrand’s “suitability for public ministry,” the news release said.

In January 2014, the review board determined the allegation against DeGrand was “credible.”

Paprocki claims DeGrand has been uncooperative in the investigation, refusing to meet with the review board and refusing to submit to a lie-detector test.

Criminal charges against DeGrand will not be filed at this point, Morgan County State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean III said.

“We’ve received a limited amount of information, all outside of the statute of limitations,” he said, “and when (police) reached out for further information [from the victim], we did not receive any.”

DeGrand, 63, most recently was pastor of parishes in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville. He also has served parishes in Winchester, Bluffs and Granite City.

Father Sunder Ery, who has been serving as temporary parochial administrator of the parishes in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek, and Lillyville, will continue in that role.

Bre Linstromberg Copper may be reached by calling 217-245-6121, ext. 1220.









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