Father Bud Grant returns to ministry with restrictions


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Father Robert “Bud” Grant will resume teaching at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and ministering at St. Andrew Parish in Blue Grass, with restrictions and supervision, following an eight-month investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Fr. Grant

“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,” the Diocese of Des Moines said in a Nov. 24 news release. Majority age at that time, the early 1990s, was 16. However, “Father Grant engaged in behavior in select instances in the early 1990s that violated the Sixth Commandment and his priestly promises.”

Father Grant, 62, is a priest of the Des Moines Diocese, where he was ordained in 1984. The complaint alleged sexual abuse of a minor in the early 1990s. Law enforcement authorities in Scott, Polk and Pottawatomie counties were notified of the complaint earlier this year. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office was the first to receive the complaint last fall.


Des Moines Bishop William Joensen and the diocesan Allegation Review Committee reviewed the initial complaint and evidence, examined an investigative report produced by a third party and consulted with experts in church law, the diocesan statement said. Bishop Joensen and Bishop Thomas Zinkula of the Diocese of Davenport suspended Father Grant’s faculties to minister as a priest when the Diocese of Davenport received the complaint in late February.

Bishop Joensen has placed restrictions on Father Grant’s ministry because of the seriousness of the misconduct. “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 diocesan statement said.

The restrictions, to be in place for one year, reviewed and adjusted as necessary:

  • No touch policy for anyone younger than 24 years old except for exchanging the sign of peace with a handshake or offering a blessing during public celebration of the sacraments.
  • All one-to-one ministry with individuals up to 24 years of age, including the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, or other academic support must be in an accessible space visible to the public.
  • No individual meetings in a rectory, parish, academic or other setting is permitted when no one 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.

Father Grant has also agreed to a monitor, who will supervise his activities. The monitor will make quarterly reports to Bishop Joensen and Bishop Zinkula. Furthermore, Father Grant cannot engage in ministry beyond his current assignments without express permission from Bishop Joensen.

“The Diocese of Des Moines has reached out to the complainant to offer pastoral and professional support,” Bishop Joensen said.

Bishop Zinkula said he is allowing Father Grant to return to his assignment as sacramental minister at St. Andrew Parish because “This misconduct occurred over 25 years ago. There have been no other reports of misconduct involving Father Grant. The Church has done due diligence in reaching a just conclusion according to law, respecting both the complainant and Father Grant. I would not allow Father Grant to return to ministry in the diocese if I thought parishioners or young people were at risk.”

Bishop Zinkula said Deacon Terry Starns, St. Andrew parish life coordinator, has communicated with the parishioners about the outcome of this case. Deacon Starns has informed the bishop that the parish will welcome back Father Grant with open arms.

In addition, after meeting recently with Father Grant, St. Ambrose University lifted his suspension from teaching at the university, effective spring semester 2021. “Father Grant will abide by the restrictions imposed by the Diocese of Des Moines while engaged with St. Ambrose University students and employees,” the Davenport Diocese said in its statement, issued concurrently with the Diocese of Des Moines’ statement.

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 in 1984, 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.

Abuse hotline

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, vac@diodav.org or PO Box 232, Bettendorf, IA 52722-0004.

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