IL- Promotion of Springfield priest is “disturbing,” SNAP says

For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

We're disappointed that a Springfield Catholic priest has been promoted to head the Wichita diocese.

Bishop Carl Kemme has been basically the second-in-command and actually ran the diocese for months in between bishop appointments. During those years, diocesan staff made a number of worrisome decisions. Here are two from just the past year.

– They temporarily let an accused child molesting cleric, Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand, resign from his posts, instead of suspending him, after delaying for a week after the diocesan abuse panel quietly urged them to oust Fr. DeGrand. They used vague, misleading language – like “misconduct” - to describe alleged child sex crimes, hoping to soften the horror of sexual assaults on children by clergy.

– They put Fr. Thomas Donovan back on the job after he'd been found by police to be wearing an orange jumpsuit and “a leather bondage-type mask with a bar in his mouth” (A church therapist allegedly diagnosed him as having engaged in "non-sexual self-bondage.")

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So we are not optimistic that he will take real steps to reform long-standing, deeply rooted patterns of irresponsible, self-serving behavior by bishops in this on-going crisis.

We hope that Bishop Kemme will immediately do something no Springfield bishop has yet done: make kids safer by posting the names of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website. Roughly 30 other bishops have taken this simple public safety step. (Here is the list of them:

And we hope current Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki will reconsider his refusal to do so.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])

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