Degrand Permanently Removed As Pastor of Four Parishes

By Greg Sapp
May 5, 2015

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has permanently removed Father Robert "Bud" DeGrand as pastor of the parishes of St. Michael and 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.

The Bishop sent a letter to parishioners that said his action was taken "In light of Father DeGrand's refusal to cooperate with the process to determine his suitability to return to ministry."

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

Father DeGrand was removed from active ministry when the Diocesan Review Board unanimously found that an allegation of clerical sexual misconduct with a minor was credible. The finding came in December of 2013 but involved an alleged incident that was to have occurred decades before when he was serving in another parish in Illinois.

Bishop Paprocki met with parishioners in Sigel last September 20 and reported that Father DeGrand's case was pending at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Bishop's letter, dated May 2, said, "What I did not know at the time when I met with you was that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had sent me a letter dated September 10, 2014, referring the case back to me. I did not receive that letter until the week after my meeting with parishioners due to the time it takes for mail to be sent from the Vatican by diplomatic channels through the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC."

The Bishop's letter also addressed a rumor that said that the Vatican had cleared Father DeGrand and dismissed the charges against him. The letter stated, "That (the rumor) is not true." The Vatican's finding was that a canonical trial could not take place due to "prescription", similar to the statute of limitations in civil law. Basically, the case could not be tried due to the passage of time. The Bishop noted in his letter that he had requested the Vatican issue a waiver of prescription allowing a trial to proceed to determine Father DeGrand's guilt or innocence, but Father Degrand did not agree and "instead insisted that the trial be barred."

The Bishop's letter also indicated that Father DeGrand refused to meet again with the Diocesan Review Board, and also declined to take a lie detector test, although the accuser agreed to take the lie detector test. The Review Board asked Father DeGrand to return for a re-evaluation at Guest House in Minnesota, where he was treated for alcohol abuse in 1996, but Father DeGrand instead asked to see a psychiatrist. The Bishop's letter said that Father Degrand did not disclose "pertinent information" to the psychiatrist, which the Bishop said was compromising the psychiatrist's ability to render accurate conclusions.

The letter also shared that Father DeGrand refused to relocate away from his assignment while his case was pending and refused a direct order from the Bishop to relocate to housing in Springfield, leading to his suspension and a reduction from full salary to a monthly stipend for room and board. The diocese is also paying Father DeGrand's legal expenses.

The Bishop's letter also directed parishioners not to approach Father DeGrand for priestly ministry except in danger of death.








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