A former priest at Our Saviour Church in Jacksonville accused of clerical sexual misconduct with a minor may be temporarily housed in a parish rectory in eastern Illinois.
Our reporting partners at WICS ABC Newschannel 20 say a letter was sent by Bishop John Paprocki to parishioners in the Christian County community of Stonington requesting temporary the lodging for Father Robert “Bud” DeGrand.
The Stonington parish, Holy Trinity, sits right in the middle of family homes.
A preliminary investigation by the Catholic Diocese of Springfield found the misconduct allegations against DeGrand credible in January. An incident involving DeGrand was alleged to have occurred in 1980 while he was assigned to Our Saviour Parish, the same year he was ordained.
DeGrand was placed on administrative leave from his four Central Illinois parishes after the findings.
Diocesean spokeswoman Kathie Sass says the case was referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican.
Paprocki’s letter also indicates an Illinois Department of Children and family Services report was unable to find credible evidence of child abuse or neglect in DeGrand’s case. While the claims against DeGrand were found credible by the Springfield diocese, it does not mean he has been found guilty.
Until the Vatican comes to a conclusion on the priest’s case, the diocese will treat him with a presumption of innocence.