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  Students: Deyo Was Respected Teacher
Accused Priest Remembered

By Gigi Wood gwood@press-citizen.com
Press-Citizen [Iowa]
August 31, 2004

* Parishioners and anyone with concerns can contact the diocese's victim assistance coordinator, Tom Crowley, at 563-349-5002.

Some students who attended Regina High School while the Rev. Paul Deyo taught there said Monday they are shocked to hear allegations of sex abuse against him.

Deyo, who has been restricted from active duty since the allegation surfaced last year, taught at the Catholic high school from 1991 to 2000. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport released his name Saturday. He is accused of sexually abusing a minor in Johnson County in 1998. No criminal charges have been filed against him.

"As a former student of Father Paul Deyo, I am shocked and upset with the allegations pending against him," said Katy Gordon Brown, a 1997 alumna of Regina who now lives in St. Paul, Minn.

In an e-mail to the Press-Citizen, Brown also described Deyo as honest and passionate.

"Father Paul Deyo is one of the most outstanding human beings I had ever met," she said. "I knew him well when he taught me and siblings at Regina High School in Iowa City. He spent many hours outside of school with myself and fellow students, pondering Catholicism and life."

"I speak of him often, probably because I recite things he taught me on a daily basis."

Deyo served at St. Patrick's from 1991 to 1992, St. Peter's in Cosgrove and St. Mary's in Oxford from 1996 to 1997, and at St. Wenceslaus' from 1998 to 2000.

Marty Mozena, who graduated from Regina High School in 1994, said Deyo was an effective teacher.

"Bottom line, he was excellent," said Mozena, who lives in Westmont, Ill. "He was a very difficult teacher, but whether you liked or disliked him, you respected him."

Mozena said Deyo often made students memorize the Latin roots of English words.

"He was the most discussed teacher at Regina, because he was so tough, but for the better," Mozena said. "He demanded excellence in everything."

Deyo was respected outside of class, as well, Mozena said.

"So much respect goes out to him, not just in the classroom," he said. "He was also an excellent counselor. You could always go to him with problems. He was somebody who I looked up to quite a bit."

Brown said she hopes the Iowa City community will consider Deyo innocent while he is under investigation.

"We are so quick to decide who is guilty, without hearing the whole story this day in age," she said. "Let the facts get sorted, then make your decision."

The statute of limitations has not yet expired on the alleged incident, and Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White has said his office is gathering information about the alleged incident. White declined to comment on the case Monday.

Officials with Regina Catholic schools are awaiting word from the Davenport diocese on how to instruct students and parents on the matter. Regina High School Principal Ray Pechous did not return a phone message left at the school Monday and did not answer his home telephone Monday night.

Deyo, who was ordained in 1976, served most recently as principal of Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City from 2000 to 2003.

The diocese's Review Board ordered Deyo's investigation after learning of the allegation in July 2003. The diocese reported the incident to Assistant Johnson County Attorney Anne Lahey last summer, but told her the man who alleged the abuse wanted to remain anonymous and did not want criminal charges filed.

Reach Gigi Wood at 339-7360 or gwood@press-citizen.com.

 
 

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