A victims’ advocate group is reacting to the news that the Springfield Catholic Diocese has permanently barred a former Jacksonville priest from ministry.
A statement put out today by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, criticizes Bishop Thomas Paprocki for allowing Father Robert “Bud” DeGrand to allow church funds to be used to pay for DeGrand’s legal fees.
Paprocki also told parishioners in Eastern Illinois over the weekend, where DeGrand was a pastor, that the 63-year-old priest is also receiving a monthly stipend for room and board.
David Clohessy is the SNAP director.
“Nobody wants to see anyone be hungry or homeless, not even a child molester. But, we believe it’s inappropriate and hurtful for Bishop Paprocki to pay for legal fees for a credibly-accused and suspended priest, and we believe it’s inappropriate and hurtful for that priests’ parishioners to buy him a house,” says Clohessy.
“It sends a very depressing and very chilling message, not only to wounded victims, but also to betrayed Catholics who are upset by this ongoing abuse and cover up crisis.”
Clohessy says Paprocki has handled the DeGrand case “irresponsibly”, but he adds his organization is pleased that DeGrand won’t ever work in a parish again.
“Bishop Paprocki took a small but significant step forward whenever any child molester is deprived of the ability to work in a school or call himself a pastor. That’s a good thing,” he says. “At the same time though, that’s the absolute bare minimum that Bishop Paprocki should be doing.”
Other actions SNAP wants taken include putting notices about Father DeGrand and the accusations the Springfield Diocese deemed “credible” on parish bulletins and websites, and for those notices to call victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call the police.