Diocese Releases Name of Priest in Abuse Case
By Thomas Geyer
August 28, 2004
A Catholic priest who served at parishes in Davenport and Clinton, Iowa,
as well as Assumption High School in Davenport was identified Saturday
as the subject of an ongoing investigation into a case of sexual misconduct
involving a minor.
The Rev. Paul Deyo, who served in the Quad-City region during the 1970s,
’80s and early ’90s, was identified in a news release issued
Saturday afternoon by the Diocese of Davenport.
An announcement was made throughout the diocese to parishioners who attended
Mass on Saturday. The same announcement will be made at Mass today.
The Rev. William Franklin, the bishop of the Davenport Diocese, ordered
that Deyo’s name be released. Officials with the diocese said Tuesday
that the allegation against Deyo, who has been a priest for 28 years since
being ordained in August 1976, had been determined to be credible. The
alleged incident occurred during 1998 in Johnson County, Iowa. Deyo served
at Regina High School in Iowa City from 1991 to 2000 while working at
several parishes in that area.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Davenport attorney Rand
Wonio, who represents the diocese, told the QUAD-CITY TIMES.
“What the (diocesan) policy is first and foremost designed to do
is encourage anybody who has been subjected to misconduct to come forward
if they need assistance,” he said. “Naturally, we hope nobody
else has been victimized.”
Wonio said the investigation needs to be concluded before the diocese
can determine what other action needs to be taken.
The news came as a surprise to former Assumption High School Principal
Thomas Sunderbruch, where Deyo was assigned from 1984 to 1991. From 1988
to 1991, Deyo was also an administrator at St. Mary’s in Davenport.
“I knew him well then,” Sunderbruch said, adding that he heard
the announcement during Mass on Saturday at Holy Family Church in Davenport.
“He was a teacher for me, the athletic director and dean of students.
“The good news is I never had a problem and I never had an allegation,”
he said. “He is a very bright man and an excellent teacher.”
Sunderbruch said he is confident that he would have heard if anything
inappropriate involving Deyo and a student had occurred during the priest’s
tenure at Assumption.
Wonio has said the incident initially was reported to an assistant in
the Johnson County Attorney’s office, “even though the man
who made the report did not wish any criminal charges to be filed.”
The criminal statute of limitations has not run out on the allegation,
which means it could be criminally prosecuted in court.
Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White has said his office is continuing
an informal information-gathering process regarding the alleged incident.
At the time the allegation was made, Deyo was principal of Bishop Heelan
High School in Sioux City, Iowa.
Deyo began serving at Bishop Heelan in 2000 and was dean of students for
two years. He assumed the role of principal there in the fall of 2002.
According to a statement issued Saturday by the Diocese of Sioux City,
there had been no allegations of any sexual misconduct stemming from Deyo’s
years in the Davenport Diocese when he was hired at Heelan.
“The Diocese of Sioux City was informed in late May 2003 that an
allegation had been made against Rev. Deyo concerning an incident in the
Davenport Diocese,” the statement reads. “Soon after, the
Diocese of Sioux City was informed by the Diocese of Davenport that Rev.
Deyo returned to his home diocese, where the investigation into the allegation
According to the statement, neither the Catholic schools of Sioux City
nor the Diocese of Sioux City have been made aware of any alleged instance
of sexual misconduct during Deyo’s tenure at Heelan.
In its statement, the Davenport Diocese said Deyo is not actively involved
in the ministry and is caring for his father in Keokuk.
That it took so long — more than a year — for the Davenport
Diocese to release Deyo’s name in connection with an allegation
is highly disconcerting and indicative of a church system that remains
much too secretive, said David Clohessy, the executive director of the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, which has its headquarters
“Because the bishop (Franklin) is evidently preoccupied with public
relations, he’s given this potentially dangerous man more than a
year to destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses and prepare to run from
the law,” Clohessy told the Times. “It’s a dangerous
and irresponsible course that the bishop has chosen, and I hope Catholics
will express their justifiable outrage.
“God help this bishop if, last week, last month or last year, this
priest molested another innocent child,” he added.
Thomas Geyer can be contacted at (563) 383-2328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.