Rev. Richard J. Poster

Summary of Case: Sentenced in 2004 on a plea bargain to 1 year in prison for receiving visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. In December 2002, diocesan employees had found images on Poster’s laptop depicting boys or adolescent males engaging in sex acts and turned the computer over to police. Poster was at the time Davenport's director of liturgy, lead member of the liturgical commission, and associate publisher of the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Messenger. He had also worked at 6 parishes (1 in the Dubuque diocese and 3 as pastor), and was a part-time faculty member at St. Ambrose University in Davenport for the summer and fall of 1996. In June 2004, Bishop Franklin asked the Pope to laicize Poster.

Poster was 39 as of the 2/25/04 Franklin report
: December 5, 1992
Incardinated: Davenport IA


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Comment
12/22/92 8/8/95 St. Mary of the Assumption

Iowa City IA Parochial Vicar, 2/2. Pastor was Rev. Thomas R. Doyle, previously dean of Clinton, and then Rev. Kenneth E. Kuntz, who became the (last) episcopal vicar of Iowa City in 1997. 608 children in catechism class. We show an early photo, before the steeple was added.
1993         Member of the Worship & Spiritual Life Commission In this and following years, the OCD lists Rev. Greg L. Miller as the primary person on the Commission on Worship and Prayer in its section on Diocesan Offices and Directors, but does not label him a director. Poster is not listed as connected with this commission, and his connection to it in 1993 (no date-range given) is stated in the diocese's 2/25/04 assignment list.
8/8/95 7/1/96 All Saints

Keokuk IA Parochial Vicar, 2/2. Pastor was Rev. Michael J. Spiekermeier  
1996         Coordinating Director of Liturgy This office is listed without date range in the diocese's
7/1/96 11/16/96 St. John Vianney

Bettendorf IA Parochial Vicar, 2/2. Pastor was Rev. Francis C. Henricksen, promoter of justice, managing editor of the Catholic Messenger, and vicar for religious.  
7/1/96 11/16/96 St. Ambrose University

Davenport IA Part-time faculty.  
1997 1999       Coordinating Director of Worship Succeeding Rev. James J. Vrba, who is listed as Coordinating Director of Worship and Liturgy in the 1997 OCD. Previous OCDs do not list this or any analogous post.
1997 1999       Commission on Worship and Prayer Succeeding Rev. James J. Vrba, who held this office 1995-97.
11/16/96 7/2/01 Sacred Heart

Lost Nation IA Pastor 1/1 Davenport diocese.
11/16/96 7/2/01 St. James Toronto IA Pastor 1/1 Davenport diocese.
11/16/96 7/2/01 Sacred Heart Oxford Junction IA Pastor 1/1 Dubuque archdiocese. Unusually, Poster worked in both the Dubuque archdiocese and the Davenport diocese, and was listed as a priest in both. Lost Nation, Toronto, and Oxford Junction are all within 10 miles of each other.
1999 12/02   Davenport

On 12/17/02, workers found on Poster's diocesan laptop pornographic images depicting boys or adolescent males engaging in sex acts and turned the computer in to police. Poster was put on leave, indicted by a federal grand jury in 3/03, and on 1/22/04 was sentenced to a year in prison on a plea bargain.
  Director of Liturgy  
1999 12/02   Davenport   Liturgical Commission  
  12/02   Davenport   Associate Publisher of the Catholic Messenger  
7/2/01 12/02 Catholic Theological Union

Chicago IL Liturgical studies  
1/22/04         Sentenced to one year in prison on one count of receiving visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. A second count of possessing child porn was dropped as part of a plea agreement.  

Source: Bishop William E. Franklin, "A Historical Accounting of Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors and Action Taken Regarding Certain Priests" (Davenport, Iowa: Diocese of Davenport, February 25, 2004). Supplemented and corrected from the Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy and Sons, 1993-2003).

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Poster's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and in other sources with Poster's pornography conviction as it is reported in the media.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 10/27/04.