Archbishop Defends Church Steps in '54 Abuse Case

By Pat Kinney
The Courier [Waterloo and Cedar Falls IA]
March 3, 2005

WATERLOO - When the Archdiocese of Dubuque responded in 1954 to a child sexual abuse complaint against a priest in Oelwein, it followed its required procedures in place at that time, Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus said Wednesday.

The complaint, against the Rev. William Goltz, was the basis of a lawsuit filed Friday by an anonymous plaintiff in Fayette County District Court against the archdiocese and the priest.

The suit alleges that Goltz asked the alleged victim, 13 at the time, to help him wash a car and then drive it to dry it off. They drove to a quarry outside Oelwein where Goltz allegedly sexually abused the boy and showed him illicit photos.

Hanus noted that, according to the suit, when the abuse complaint was made to the church, the archdiocese immediately removed the priest and "followed its required procedures and instituted a church trial against the accused."

That church trial was instituted by then-Dubuque Archbishop Leo Binz. Only one such trial has been held in the archdiocese's 168-year history.

"That response was typical of Archbishop Leo Binz. He considered sexual abuse of minors to be 'the worst crime.' " Hanus wrote in a statement. "He would have followed the canon law procedures required in place at that time."

According to the suit, Goltz was found guilty in the church trial, and that imposed penalties and restrictions on Goltz, including taking away his ability to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, removing him from all parish offices and responsibilities, and requiring him to live under supervision in a "house of penance" in New Mexico, according to the suit.

The suit indicates after about 12 years, after being on sick leave in New Mexico and at abbeys and rectories in Wisconsin and Ohio as well as Iowa, Goltz was reassigned to other parishes within the archdiocese, including St. Patrick's in New Hampton in about 1972-73 and St. Joseph's Church in Waterloo from 1978-80. Archdiocesan directories list him as retired by the early 1990s.

Hanus again invited those who were sexually abused by clergy or other church personnel to contact one of the archdiocese's victim assistance coordinators, its Office of Child Protection or a parish priest, who will report to civil authorities and offer further help.

Pat Kinney can be contacted at (319) 291-1484 or


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