3 More Accuse Ex-Priest of Abuse
George McFadden Has Been Accused of Molesting Dozens of People When They
Were Children in the Sioux City Area
By Lee Rood and Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register [Iowa]
September 5, 2006
[Note from BishopAccountability.org: For more on McFadden, see Church
Confesses Abuse by Priests, by Lee Rood, Des Moines Register (3/8/02);
Secrecy on Iowa Priest Assailed, by Lee Rood, Des Moines Register
(6/23/02) [with list of assignments]; Priest
with Most Allegations Remains in Clergy, by Shirley Ragsdale, Des
Moines Register (1/15/06); Former
SL Priest Denies Accusations, Storm Lake Pilot Tribune (1/17/06).
For a photograph of McFadden and other links, see the entry in our database.]
A former Iowa priest who has been accused in more cases of sexual abuse
than any other Iowa priest is being sued by three more accusers.
The three people, who are not named in separate lawsuits filed in Woodbury
County, sued the Sioux City Diocese and the Rev. George McFadden, who
worked in numerous parishes in the Sioux City area from the 1950s until
his retirement in the 1990s. They all make similar allegations against
McFadden, who is now more than 80 years old and living in Fort Wayne,
Ind. They also accuse the diocese of a cover-up in the aftermath of that
The diocese declined to comment on the lawsuits.
"Consistent with our policy, we do not comment on matters that are
in active litigation," said Jim Wharton, communications director
for the Sioux City Diocese.
Depositions in the cases are expected soon, according to Alan Olson, the
Des Moines attorney representing the three plaintiffs.
McFadden has been accused of molesting more than two dozen now-grown men
and women when they were children in the Sioux City Diocese. Many alleged
victims and former parishioners have said they believe the diocese moved
the priest from church to church to shield him from public scandal.
Despite his 1992 retirement, McFadden continued to hear confession and
say Mass at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. Although he is
said to have admitted to his superiors that he committed harmful acts,
the diocese did not take steps to defrock him until numerous allegations
against him were made public. He also has since vehemently denied abusing
some of his accusers.
In December 2005, the Vatican, citing McFadden's advanced age, declined
to defrock him. However it forbade him to have any public ministry or
contact with children and ordered him to live a life of prayer and penance.
Two of the men who filed suit in Woodbury County - one of whom is an Iowan,
the other from Oklahoma - allege that McFadden sexually abused them repeatedly
from 1969 to 1972. The two say the diocese should have known "upon
reasonable inquiry" that McFadden had a history of sexually abusing
children or others while serving as a priest at other locations before
the defendants were abused.
They allege the diocese was negligent in hiring, retaining or supervising
McFadden while he was a priest. The third man, an Iowan identified only
as John Doe III, said McFadden repeatedly abused him in 1971 and 1972.