Regina Wants Cases Dismissed
School, Former Principal Ask Judge to Throw out Abuse Suits
Associated Press, carried in Press-Citizen
November 30, 2006
An Iowa City Catholic school and its former principal are asking a judge to dismiss lawsuits that implicate them in the sexual abuse of several students more than 40 years ago.
Regina High School and Lawrence Soens are being sued by more than a dozen men who claim they were sexually abused at the school.
Regina and Soens filed papers this month in Scott County District Court, asking a judge to dismiss some of the allegations based on lack of evidence.
Soens, a retired Sioux City bishop who served as Regina principal from 1959-1967, asked the court to dismiss the case of a man who says Soens sexually abused him in the 1960s when he attended Regina.
Regina's request involves the lawsuit filed by 13 men who claim Soens abused them while attending the school.
Soens also has been sued by the 13 men, though he has not asked the court to dismiss those allegations.
Regina and Soens argue that their requests are supported by an Oct. 10 ruling by District Court Judge Charles Pelton that dismissed Regina from a sexual abuse case involving allegations from the 1960s. Pelton ruled that, under Iowa law, liability for the school ended five years after the student attended Regina, which would have been 1972.
Regina is arguing the same law should be applied to the remaining case because the men were Regina students 40 years ago.
Soens, in his filing, notes that the law includes claims against school employees and, therefore, the case against him should be dismissed.
The two lawsuits also name the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport as a defendant. The cases against the diocese were delayed when the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October as protection against more than two dozen claims against it for alleged sexual abuse by its priests.
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