The Catholic Messenger
Father Robert “Bud Grant,” a professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and a priest of the Diocese of Des Moines, is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct. Bishop William Joensen of the Diocese of Des Moines made the announcement March 18. Father Grant is presumed innocent during the investigation, consistent with Diocese of Des Moines policy.
Bishop Joensen and Bishop Thomas Zinkula of the Diocese of Davenport have suspended Father Grant’s faculties to minister as a priest. He has been suspended from teaching at St. Ambrose University and from his assignment as sacramental minister to St. Andrew Parish in Blue Grass (in the Diocese of Davenport) until the report is investigated and the process is concluded according to church law.
The complaint alleges sexual misconduct that occurred in the early 1990s. Law enforcement authorities in Scott, Polk and Pottawatomie counties were notified of the complaint, according to a news release from the Des Moines Diocese. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office was the first to receive the complaint last fall.
Officials in the Des Moines Diocese were made aware of the complaint on Feb. 27. Finding the allegation had a semblance of truth, Bishop Joensen directed the opening of a preliminary investigation, placed Father Grant on administrative leave and restricted his ministry on March 4.
“Our diocese has taken extensive steps to ensure that today we have a safe environment in our churches and schools,” Bishop Joensen said in the diocesan statement. “We know it can take years, sometimes decades, for victims to summon the courage to come forward. While we investigate this allegation, it is my ardent hope that it serves as an impetus for anyone who may have been sexually abused by a clergy member of our diocese to let us know so that we can prevent it from ever happening again. Please keep all those involved in this matter in your prayers.”
The Diocese of Des Moines Allegation Review Committee will review evidence produced by the investigation and offer counsel to the bishop according to their standard protocol. This group is comprised of an attorney, a retired teacher, a psychologist, a chief of police, a judge, a priest and deacon. They will make a recommendation to Bishop Joensen regarding the appropriate course of action, which may include forwarding the case to the Vatican for review, canonical trial and appropriate penalty, which may include removal from the priesthood.
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Des Moines in 1984, Father Grant attended St. Albert Catholic School, St. Ambrose College in Davenport and the Gregorian University in Rome. He earned a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Iowa. After ordination, he served in team ministry in three Shelby County parishes: St. Mary in Portsmouth, St. Mary in Panama and St. Boniface in Westphalia. He served on the faculty at St. Albert High School from 1988-1994. He has served on the faculty of St. Ambrose University since 1994 and as a sacramental minister at St. Andrew Parish in Blue Grass since 2008.
St. Ambrose University said in a statement that it takes seriously any allegation of improper conduct by an employee. The university is not aware of any previous complaints regarding improper conduct by Father Grant, the statement said. The university referred additional questions to Anne Marie Cox, director of communications and public relations for the Diocese of Des Moines at email@example.com, or by phone at (515) 237-5057.
To report child sexual abuse, call the Iowa Attorney General Clergy Abuse hotline at (855) 620-7000 or the Iowa Department of Human Services Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 362-2178. If it involves clergy or church personnel also notify Alicia Owens, victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport at (563) 3495002, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 232, Bettendorf, IA 52722-0004.