Alleged Abuse Victim Wants Nun Punished

KWWL [Iowa]
April 12, 2006

A Catholic nun is accused of abusing an Eastern Iowa man as a child. Steve Theisen of Hudson is the leader of Iowa SNAP: the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In his case, he says the abused by a nun when he was a fourth grader. "It's tough for any survivor to come forward. People have a hard time believing that abusers can be female," says Theisen.

In Theisen's case, that female he's accusing is Sister Mary Phillip, now known as Sister Josephine Schmitz. KWWL went to sister Josephine's home in Dubuque to get her reaction to Theisen's allegations. However, nobody answered the door.

For Theisen's, coming forward is all about helping others. "My main purpose is reaching out to other survivors. And by having her name out there and hopefully the archdiocese putting it on the web if anybody has been abused by this nun to please come forward," says Theisen.

Theisen tried to deliver a letter to archbishop Jerome Hanes asking the archdiocese to re-open his case, but Hanes wasn't available. "I'll let them call me and see where we're going. If I don't hear from them, I'll call them," says Theisen.

Theisen's has filed a complaint in the past, but the archdiocese investigator found it quote "not sustained." However, Theisen's says that investigator was not trained to deal with sexual abuse cases so he feels the case should be re-opened. Theisen says he still hasn't decided whether to file criminal charges against Sister Josephine.


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