IL--Ex-Granite City priest ousted for abuse accusations
Ex-Granite City priest ousted for abuse accusations
His flock buys him a house & his bishop pays for his lawyer
SNAP blasts “unprecedented golden parachute” for predator
Group urges Catholic officials to “educate & reign in church-goers”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will denounce the fact that
--a group of Catholic parishioners are buying a house for a predator priest, and
--a Catholic bishop is paying for the priest’s lawyer.
They will also urge Springfield’s Catholic officials to
--stop or at least denounce both moves, and
--aggressively seek out others who were hurt by the priest so that he might be prosecuted.
TODAY, Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, 2300 Pontoon Rd, Granite City, IL (618-877-3300)
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s long time executive director
In what SNAP says is a “first” anywhere in the US, parishioners in a small Illinois town are buying a house for a suspended predator priest while the local bishop is using church funds to pay the accused priest’s legal fees.
On Sunday, Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki told church-goers that Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand – who worked in Granite City - won’t ever work in a parish again. But SNAP is appalled that Paprocki is paying for Fr. DeGrand’s lawyer and saying little or nothing while members of Fr. DeGrand’s parish are buying him a home.
These moves “rubs salt into the wounds of suffering victims and betrayed Catholics” SNAP believes, and “discourages other abuse victims from reporting crimes, exposing predators and protecting kids.”
It’s common, SNAP says, for church-goers to rally around a credibly accused child molesting cleric. It happens largely for two reasons: because most child predators are shrewd, personable and charming and because virtually no church official teaches his flock about how harmful such actions are and about how rare false allegations against clergy are.
SNAP is urging Paprocki to
--stop using parishioner donations to pay Fr. DeGrand’s lawyer
--publicly beg parishioners to stop “enabling” Fr. DeGrand by financially backing him
--educate his flock about how to act responsibly when priests are accused of abuse
--put notices about the credible accusations against Fr. DeGrand 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
--give his personnel file to law enforcement agencies in every county where he worked
Taking “these simple, inexpensive and proven prevention steps will boost the chances that Fr. DeGrand could be prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids,” SNAP maintains.
When the case first surfaced in late 2013, Paprocki kept the accusation against Fr. DeGrand secret for weeks. That’s one of several ways, SNAP says, that Paprocki mishandled this case.
He also let Fr. DeGrand resign from his posts at Catholic parishes in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville (all near Effingham). SNAP said Paprocki should have suspended him instead.
SNAP urges anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. DeGrand or cover ups by Paprocki – especially current and former Springfield area Catholic employees - to “call police, expose wrongdoers, deter wrongdoing and start healing.”
According to the Official Catholic Directory, Fr. DeGrand was pastor of St. Elizabeth’s in Granite City in from 1991-1996. He is not indexed in the 1997 Directory. In the 1998 Directory, he is indexed and listed as on leave. Fr. DeGrand was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.
Some of the Effingham area parishioners who believe Fr. DeGrand is innocent include Bobbi Probst, George Nuxoll and Bonnie Baker.
In 2013, Paprocki restored Fr. Thomas Donovan to ministry in Alton (25 minutes away from Granite City). He’s the priest who made national headlines for engaging in what Paprocki called “non-sexual self-bondage.”
Paprocki himself made national headlines in 2008 when he said that clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits were “the work of Satan.”
And at least eight men report having been molested by another Granite City priest, Fr. Walter Weerts. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2004_07_12/2004_07_22_BellevilleNewsDemocrat_SpringfieldDiocese.htm
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.