Former Our Saviour priest removed from ministry

By Gary Scott on May 4, 2015 at 12:13pm

A former Jacksonville priest has reportedly been permanently removed as a pastor in several Catholic parishes in Eastern Illinois.

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield found that an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor by the Reverend Robert “Bud” DeGrand was credible in January 2014 for an incident that allegedly happened at Our Saviour Parish in 1980, the same year DeGrand was ordained.

DeGrand was placed on leave from public ministry and from his residence last January. On Saturday, Springfield Diocese Bishop Thomas Paprocki spoke with parishioners in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville regarding DeGrand’s status.

The diocese reports Paprocki requested the Vatican issue a “waiver of prescription” on the case, which refers to the canon law version of the statute of limitations, as the Vatican said no “canonical trial” could take place because too much time had passed.

Instead, the Vatican reportedly directed Paprocki to handle the matter.

According to a press release, Paprocki said progress on the case has been consistently impeded by DeGrand’s “lack of cooperation,” leading to him being permanently removed. That includes not presenting any information to or meeting with the Diocesan Review Board to reverse its findings.

Diocese spokeswoman Marlene Mulford says DeGrand is still a priest, but he can’t take part in public ministry at any Catholic Church.

DeGrand also reportedly refused to take a lie-detector test, although the Diocese says his accuser in this case was willing. It also indicates he was uncooperative in other efforts at evaluation.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Bobby Bonjean says the case involving DeGrand is somewhat of a cold case.

“Back when this information did come to light that there was an investigation, the detective from the Jacksonville Police Department was assigned to the case, reached out to a potential victim, but that potential victim did not provide any information. That’s why we’re somewhat at a standstill on trying to determine if an offense had occurred and whether it was in the statute of limitations,” Bonjean says.

“I have not spoken to the detective probably within the last 30 days regarding the case. The last information I had is that the detective had not received any additional information. So, at this point, we’re kind of at a standstill unless some new information comes to light.”

Previously, Bonjean indicated that a person accused of sexual misconduct can still be prosecuted until the victim reaches the age of 38, but that an extension could be triggered.

“Some of it depends on when the offense actually occurred, and then also if it’s a repressed memory and it comes out at a later time, when it actually comes out. But, there are several factors that could come into play when we make a determination regarding the statute of limitations that affect that determination,” he explains.

DeGrand reportedly refused to move to a private home in Springfield. The Springfield Diocese says it’s still paying his attorney’s fees and is receiving a monthly stipend for room and board. Mulford says DeGrand is residing in Sigel, but he’s not living in parish property.