Public Safety

Davenport priest investigated for sexual misconduct

Allegations against Robert 'Bud' Grant stem from early 1990s in Council Bluffs

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, a St. Ambrose University professor known for his activism on environmental issues, is being investigated for sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s when he was serving at St. Albert’s High School in Council Bluffs, part of the Des Moines Diocese.

Grant’s faculties to minister as a priest have been suspended by the bishops of the Des Moines and Davenport dioceses, according to news releases from both dioceses.

He also has been suspended from teaching at St. Ambrose in Davenport and from his assignment as sacramental minister to St. Andrew Church in Blue Grass, until the report is investigated and the process is concluded under church law, according to a news release from the Davenport diocese.

Grant served at St. Albert’s from 1988 to 1994 when he came to Davenport to teach at St. Ambrose. At St. Albert’s, he was chairman of the religion department, taught religion, was chairman of ministry and was the soccer coach, according to a former student.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office was the first to receive the complaint against Grant last fall, and law enforcement authorities in Scott, Polk and Pottawattamie counties have been notified, according to a news release from the Des Moines diocese.

Des Moines diocesan officials were first made aware of the complaint Feb. 27.

Finding the allegation had a semblance of truth, Bishop William Joensen directed the opening of a preliminary investigation, placed Grant on administrative leave and restricted his ministry March 4.

No other reports of misconduct involving Grant have been received by either diocese or St. Ambrose.

“Our diocese has taken extensive steps to ensure that today we have a safe environment in our churches and schools,” Joensen said in the news release. “We know it can take years, sometimes decades, for victims to summon the courage to come forward.

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“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,” he said.

“Please keep all those involved in this matter in your prayers.”

Consistent with diocesan policy, Grant is presumed innocent during the investigation.

Grant could not be reached for comment.

The Diocese of Des Moines Allegation Review Committee will review evidence produced by the investigation and offer counsel to the bishop. This group consists 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.

Grant was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Des Moines in 1984.

He grew up on a farm in Shelby County and 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.

After serving at St. Albert from 1988 to 1994, he came to St. Ambrose to pursue a more scholarly role.

He has served as a sacramental minister at St. Andrew Parish in Blue Grass since 2008.

In 2007, Grant received an Eddy Award from River Action Inc., Davenport, for excellence in education because of his environmental teachings.

In 2001, he was honored by the Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District for outstanding accomplishments in soil and water conservation. He led an effort to get a $40,000 Riverboat Development Authority grant to help develop a solution to flooding problems in the Cosgrove Hall parking lot on campus.

Getting help

Victims of sexual abuse by clergy and their families are encouraged to contact the diocese in which the abuse happened.

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In Davenport, that is Alicia Owens, victim assistance coordinator, 563-349-5002, vac@diodav.org or PO Box 232, Bettendorf, IA 52722-0004.

In Des Moines, that is Sam Porter, 515-286-2024 or Sam.Porter@polkcountyiowa.gov

Reports may also be made to the Iowa Attorney General Clergy Abuse hotline at 855-620-7000 or the Iowa Department of Human Services Child Abuse Hotline: 800-362-2178.

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