A Detroit predator priest was recently ousted. Archbishop Allen Vigneron made a formal announcement. It implied this was the first allegation against the priest.
But it wasn’t.
Each time this happens, we are outraged that so-called “men of God” deceive parents, parishioners and the public. Each time this happens, we seek out ways in which to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Each time this happens, we try our best to get our message out to new ears and eyes, hoping that the awareness will prevent a repeat of this complicity. Each time this happens, we remind people of the pledge America’s bishops have repeatedly made: to be “open and transparent” in clergy child sex abuse cases.
But the deceit keeps happening, again and again.
About a week ago, we received a private archdiocesan memo showing that Fr. Louis Grandpre, who was ousted last week because of credible child sex abuse allegations, was also accused of sexual harassment 15 years ago.
In a one page memo, dated September of 1997, a high ranking Detroit archdiocesan official writes to two colleagues that “we have lost the mediation process” arising from accusations that Fr. Grandpre sexually harassed an individual. The memo indicates the mediator “recommended (a) settlement of about $160,000.00”
Though it’s dreadfully frustrating, we will keep insisting that institutions (especially those with a long and sordid history of concealing child sex abuse) use all available outlets to let the public and their patrons know of that history. We will keep trying to get this simple but crucial message out. We believe that every time we demand change that protects kids, someone somewhere will hear us and reform, even if that someone is rarely in the Catholic hierarchy.