Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque Settles Nine More Cases of Abuse

By Elwin Huffman
Radio Iowa [Dubuque IA]
March 27, 2007

Details of another settlement are being announced today in nine more cases of alleged sex abuse involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque. Waterloo attorney Thomas Staack, who represents the latest accusers, says the Archdiocese has agreed to pay 2.6 million dollars to the nine victims.

Staack says: "All of these people are the courageous people here. They've had the nerve, they've had the courage, they've had the intestinal fortitude to come forward and to confront this issue head-on." He says the terms of the agreement were reached through private mediation, which occurred late last week in Dubuque.

Staack says the cases were settled without filing a lawsuit, and thus, no victims' names have been made public and they'll be kept confidential unless one of the victims decides to step forward. The claims settled relate to alleged sexual abuse involving six priests who were assigned to parishes in Dubuque, Nevada, Ryan and Waterloo, and a school in Waterloo.

Staack says the alleged incidents did not occur at the buildings where the priests were assigned. The alleged incidents took place between the 1940s and the mid-1990s. Staack says eight of the victims were teenagers or under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged abuse, and the other was an adult.

Staack says, "These people have been injured and they need not only our support but they need our encouragement as well to continue to come forward and confront this issue." It's the second time in the past 13 months the Archdiocese of Dubuque has reached a settlement with people who said they were sexually abused by priests. In February 2006, the Diocese paid five-million dollars to 20 people.

Staack's law partner, Chad Swanson, says terms of this latest agreement are similar to those reached last year, with two notable exceptions. The Archdiocese is updating its website table of accused priests to include some claims of abuse by two particular priests that allegedly occurred in the 1940s and 1950s.

Swanson says the other difference involves the names and photographs of the six accused priests. He says some clients were able to find names or pictures of the accused priests in their home parishes which was offensive to the victims, so those names or photos will be removed. Three of the priests named in last year's settlement were among the six involved in the latest agreement.


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