MI--Predator priest dies; Victims blast archbishop
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016
A predator priest, Fr. Louis Grandpre, has passed away. As best we can tell, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vignernon kept this quiet, denying abuse victims months of comfort. Vignernon seems incapable of handling any part of the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis with honesty and compassion. Shame on him for not letting parents, parishioners and the public know about this predator’s passing.
In 2013, when Fr. Grandpre was finally exposed as a child molester, Vignernon was deceptive. He implied that this was the first allegation of wrongdoing against the priest. It wasn’t.
A private archdiocesan memo showed that Fr. Grandpre was also credibly accused of sexual harassment 15 years ago. How do we know the allegation was “credible?” Because a mediator suggested the victim be paid $160,000. And remember, that was almost 20 years ago.
It would have taken Vigneron minutes to approve and have his public relations team send out a news release about Fr. Grandpre’s death. That would have brought relief to those who worried, until now, that Fr. Grandpre might still be hurting children. That also would have shown that Vigneron takes seriously his repeated pledges to be “open” about predator priests.
Fr. Grandpre retired as pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus Parish in Clinton Township in 2003 but stayed in the parish. A decade later, in 2013, archdiocesan officials disclosed that he’d been credibly accused of molesting a child. We suspect he molested several kids.
We hope this predator’s passing will bring some comfort to those whose lives he devastated. We also hope that someday, Vigneron might opt for real sensitivity over self-serving secrecy. And we hope that anyone who was hurt by any Detroit priest, nun, seminarian or other archdiocesan staff will find the courage to speak up, get help, expose predators, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
(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)
Retired as pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus Parish in Clinton Township in 2003. Remained in residence as senior priest. Removed from all public ministry 9/13 after review board found accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor in early years of his career to be substantive. Matter reported to County Prosecutor. In 9/2013, SNAP released Memo of 9.22.97 from Bp. Harrington re sexual harassment case against Grandpre.
Again, a Predator Was Accused (quietly) before
September 30, 2013
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.