IL--Ousted Priest-ducking, dodging, deflecting and distracting
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 13
An accused predator priest who has reportedly been permanently ousted from ministry is speaking out for the first time. And he’s ducking, dodging, deflecting and distracting.
Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand claims he’s been mistreated by his boss, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, and a panel of Catholics. But, if Paprocki is to be believed, Fr. DeGrand deceived a therapist and refused to take a lie detector test, be evaluated by a psychiatrist, meet again with a church panel, and move to free housing in Springfield.
Fr. DeGrand gripes that his accuser has stepped forward years after the alleged crimes. But DeGrand isn’t stupid. He knows that precious few young boys or girls have the strength, maturity and courage to promptly call 911 right after they’ve been raped or sodomized by a trusted adult. Even fewer can do this when the perpetrator is a revered religious figure who purports to have the power to get a child or his loved ones into heaven by hearing confession.
Fr. DeGrand also knows that, given the church’s long-standing priest shortage, most Catholic officials feel pressured to err on the side of keeping sexually troubled clerics on the job. Often, church officials believe their accused colleagues over their alleged victims. So it’s significant when a bishop and his hand-picked Catholic panel concur that a cleric likely molested a child. We also strongly suspect that church insurers, defense lawyers and public relations experts agree with Paprocki and his panel that Fr. DeGrand is a threat. We also suspect there is other information in Fr. DeGrand’s personnel file about other known, admitted or alleged sexual misdeeds.
We again call on Paprocki to
--stop using parishioner donations to buy a lawyer for Fr. DeGrand
--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,
--turn over, to law enforcement agencies in every county where he worked, his personnel file, and
--teach his flock how to respond appropriately when abuse reports against clerics surface
Taking these simple, inexpensive and proven prevention steps will boost the chances that Fr. DeGrand could be prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids.
Anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. DeGrand or cover ups by Bishop Paprocki should step forward now and call police, prosecutors, therapists or groups like ours. That’s the best way to start healing, protect others, and deter wrongdoing.
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)