Dubuque Archdiocese Issues Church Abuse Report

Courier [Iowa]
Downloaded December 31, 2003

DUBUQUE --- Twenty-six Roman Catholic priests in the Dubuque archdiocese were accused of sexually abusing children over the past 50 years, according to a diocesan report issued Monday.

Details of the report, which covers accusations made from 1950 through 2002, were included in a letter sent to all Catholic households in the 30 counties comprising the archdiocese, including Black Hawk County.

"I am sorry and apologize for what those priests did to you," Archbishop Jerome Hanus said in the letter. "I apologize also for the inaction of some archbishops and for their mistaken decisions to continue allowing abusive priests a place of authority and respect when they did not deserve it."

The report tallies 67 victims of sex abuse by priests: 12 girls and 55 boys.

The letter also outlines steps taken by the archdiocese to prevent sexual abuse under a new policy that took effect July 1, including more rigorous background checks of priests, deacons, pastoral administrators, teachers and principals.

"This letter describes our efforts to respond to the pastoral needs of people affected by this abuse," Hanus wrote.

All clergy and diocese personnel must undergo a special training program. The archdiocese also has appointed three trained victim assistance coordinators and publicized their availability.

The archdiocese spent $1,119,000 from 1950 to 2002 in settlements and counseling for victims. The expenses were covered by insurance and by money from the priests themselves.

Allegations have been received against six other priests, but due to vague information, anonymous reporting or the person not giving permission for their name to be used, adequate evaluation has not been possible, the report said. One case investigated by civil authorities was rejected for insufficient evidence.

Currently, there are no criminal proceedings in process against any of the accused priests, but there are a few civil cases in progress, the report said.

In October, the archdiocese was found to be in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People developed by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in June 2002.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.