News: Bishop Imposes Restrictions, Supervision on Priest

November 24, 2020

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Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant will return to ministry with restrictions and supervision, following an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Evidence gathered during the investigation established the allegation did not meet the criteria necessary to take to the Vatican for further review or canonical trial.

Since the investigation began last March, Des Moines Bishop William Joensen and the diocesan Allegation Review Committee gathered and reviewed the evidence, including the initial complaint, examined an investigative report produced by a third party, and consulted with experts in church law.  The state’s Attorney General’s office and law enforcement in Polk, Pottawattamie and Scott Counties are aware of the allegation of behavior occurring in the early 1990s.

The investigation clearly established that the allegation did not meet the criteria of sexual abuse of a minor as defined by Church law at the time of the incident, because the complainant was above majority age.  However, it was also established that Father Grant engaged in behavior in select instances in the early 1990s that violated the Sixth Commandment and his priestly promises.   

Given the seriousness of the misconduct, Bishop Joensen determined it both necessary and prudent to issue restrictions on Father Grant’s ministry.  While not a judgment of guilt with regard to the allegation of abuse of a minor, these restrictions impose remedial measures and parameters for further exercise of priestly ministry by Father Grant.  The restrictions are as follows:

  • No touch policy for anyone younger than 24 years old except for exchanging the sign of peace with handshake or offering blessing during public celebration of the sacraments.
  • All one-to-one ministry with individual up to 24 years of age, including the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, or other academic support is to be in an accessible space visible to the public.
  • No individual meeting in a rectory, parish, academic or other setting is permitted when no else is present in the building or natural space (park, outdoor campus setting, etc.).
  • Any offsite ministry, course-related or social gatherings with individuals up to 24 years of age must have an adult older than age 24 present.

These restrictions are in place for one year, to be reviewed and adjusted as necessary.  Church law does not allow for perpetual restrictions in this situation. 

In addition, Father Grant has agreed to a monitor, who will supervise his activities, and is not to engage any ministry beyond his current assignments without express permission from Bishop Joensen. 

Father Grant has been on administrative leave since last March. He is expected to return to teaching at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and offer sacramental ministry at a rural parish with the approval of the school and Davenport Bishop Thomas Zinkula.

Father Grant was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Des Moines in 1984. He attended St. Albert Catholic School, St. Ambrose University in Davenport and the Gregorian University in Rome. He holds a doctorate from the University of Iowa in religious studies. 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. Since 1994, he has served on the faculty of St. Ambrose University. He has served as a sacramental minister at St. Andrew Parish in Bluegrass, Iowa, since 2008.

Victims of sexual abuse by clergy and their families are encouraged to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate Sam Porter for counseling opportunities or to file a complaint. Porter can be reached at 515-286-2024 or at Sam.Porter@polkcountyiowa.gov.