|Diocesan Publication: Request Made to Defrock Priest
By Ann McGlynn
February 14, 2008
A priest who became the leader of the Keokuk, Iowa, region for the Diocese of Davenport will be recommended for defrocking, the diocese's official newspaper is reporting.
The Rev. Gerald Stouvenel was placed on leave last year after four people filed sex abuse claims against him in the diocese's bankruptcy. They claimed he abused them three decades ago.
A message from Bishop Martin Amos on the Catholic Messenger Web site says, "The Diocesan Review Board has recommended that I request the Vatican to laicize Father Gerald Stouvenel. I have accepted this recommendation and the request is being sent to the Vatican for review and decision. During this process, Fr. Stouvenel will continue his leave from ministry while working at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport where he is being supervised."
A representative from the diocese could not be reached for further comment.
The claims were forwarded to the Scott County attorney. That office declined prosecution because of the age of the claims.
Stouvenel was ordained on Aug. 12, 1972. Most recently he was pastor at Ss. Mary & Joseph and Sacred Heart parishes in Fort Madison and St. Joseph parish in Montrose. He previously served as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, on the faculty at Assumption High School, and associate pastor of St. Mary parish in West Point. He has been pastor at Church of the Visitation in Camanche, among other churches in eastern Iowa.
The diocese filed for bankruptcy in October 2006. It is awaiting approval of its reorganization plan, which includes a settlement of $37 million reached by a committee representing 156 claimants, the diocese and its insurance company.
Craig Levien, attorney for several of the diocesan sex abuse victims, said he was pleased the diocese has done this and called the reports against Stouvenel "highly credible." He noted that it took the bankruptcy filings to bring these reports out.
This action is being taken due to the courage of the claimants, Levien said.
Ann McGlynn can be contacted at (563) 383-2336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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