Local Priest Talks about Abuse Study

WQAD [Rock Island IA]
December 2, 2003

ROCK ISLAND -- A Quad City area judge says it's time for the Davenport Diocese to come clean because of one newly filed civil lawsuit against the diocese.

Last week, a Clinton County judge ordered the diocese to release information about all sexual abuse over the past 50 years.

The Davenport Diocese says it is helping protect the confidentiality of the victims by not releasing the names before the ruling. The ruling now opens the door for the diocese to fulfill a national request to help stop sexual misconduct by priests.

While the Davenport Diocese refused to turn over its records, Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese continues to speak out on his plans to stomp out abuse with in his diocese. That's why he already turned over the needed information.

"I don't know if there’s a real good purpose in resurrecting these [incidents] just so we have some numbers," explains Monsignor Paul Showalter of St. Pius Church in Rock Island.

Showalter says he has mixed feelings on the national audit. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ordered a detailed account of all sexual abuse allegations by priests dating back 50 years. The monsignor says his diocese already turned over it's findings.

"Our bishop made reference to it at one priest meeting that the audit had been done and information given, and we received high marks for the way we were dealing with the abuse."

This study takes a closer look that abuse, as Showalter explains, to "determine what the scope of the numbers of cases … and also how all the dioceses had been handling them"

Showalter hopes this will help victims heal, as well as shed light on positive steps the church has already taken.

"I hope some of the good that will come out of it is to show the church had been dealing with many of the cases down throughout the years."

Showalter says there are also new security measures in place. Now anyone who deals with children at the church must undergo a screening process as well as special training.

Right now eight plaintiffs have filed suit against the Davenport Diocese, the most of any diocese in the state


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