Diocese Settles Five Sex Abuse Cases

The Associated Press, carried in Des Moines Register [Davenport IA]
February 16, 2006

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport has agreed to pay $870,000 to five men who claimed they were sexually abused as children by priests.

Attorneys for the men said the deal was reached Wednesday in cases involving four former priests, two of whom are deceased.

"We strongly suspect there are more victims of these predators and we hope that they will also come forward and get the help they need and deserve," said Patrick Noaker, a St. Paul, Minn., attorney who has represented dozens of people who claimed they were abused by priests affiliated with the Davenport diocese.

The cases were settled through mediation with church lawyers and officials.

The priests named in the settlement include Raymond Kalter and Herman Bongers, with each being accused of sexually abusing a young boy during the 1960s.

Attorney Craig Levien, who also represented the men, whose names were not made public, said both priests are deceased and neither had been previously identified by the diocese as priests facing credible abuse allegations. The other two former priests are William Wiebler and Francis Bass.

The settlement is the second major payout by the diocese in the last two years in cases involving eastern Iowa priests. In Oct. 2004, Bishop William Franklin agreed to pay $9 million to settle 37 sexual abuse claims dating back more than 50 years.


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