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Clergy Sex Abuse Tracking Group Adds Details to Diocese's List of Credibly Accused

By Ann McGlynn
Quad-City Times
July 23, 2008

http://ads.qctimes.com/articles/2008/07/23/news/local/doc4887cfa94b893203198733.txt

Clergy sex abuse tracking group adds details to diocese's list of credibly accused

A database of accused clergy in the Diocese of Davenport, created by an organization that tracks the sex abuse crisis nationwide, offers a more complete picture of where the clergy served than the diocesan-released listing, the groupís president says.

The new database, posted on the Bishop Accountability Web site, lists the schools, leaves of absences, leadership positions, out-of-diocese appointments and a couple of parish assignments within the diocese. They were not included by the diocese when it recently released a listing of parish-only assignments of credibly accused clergy, said Terence McKiernan, the director of Bishop Accountability.

The Bishop Accountability database also includes priests who have been publicly accused but not-yet listed as credibly accused by the diocese, including now-retired Bishop Lawrence Soens. More clergy could be added to the "credibly accused" list, the diocese has said.

A diocesan spokesman defended its parish-only list, saying the detailing of parish assignments last week goes above and beyond what the diocese was required to do in its bankruptcy settlement. The settlement only required the organization to name the credibly accused, which it did earlier this month.

"The list includes the parishes in which the abusers served so that people can attend the parish atonement services with the bishop," said David Montgomery, spokesman. The services also are a requirement of the bankruptcy settlement.

"The bankruptcy settlement agreement only provided that a list of names be published," he said. "Listing the parishes in which they served goes beyond what was agreed upon. The list also included the number of allegations made against each person, which was also something not required by the settlement."

Since the diocese released the parish assignments Friday, McKiernan has used diocesan information as well as the Official Catholic Directory to determine additional places the credibly accused clergy worked.

For example, Paul Deyo worked at Assumption High School in Davenport. Carl Meinberg was president of St. Ambrose College. Richard Welsh was priest at Immaculate Conception in Petersville, Iowa, an assignment that was not listed by the diocese. Orville DeCoursey, who still has a parish hall in Fairfield named for him, had assignments at St. Ambrose and Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton, Iowa.

McKiernan also put a star near the assignment that corresponds with the earliest report of abuse for each clergy member. McKiernan noted how many of the clergy were in leadership positions.

"You canít do the puzzle unless you have all of the pieces," he said of the Bishop Accountability database.

One of the organizationís projects is to research the assignments of every priest accused of abuse nationwide. The project relies heavily on the Official Catholic Directory, the yearly volume of personnel assignments and groups within each diocese.

The project, McKiernan said, gives survivors and others vital information about individual priests as well as how clergy moved about.

"Partial release of information can be very deceptive," he said. "It doesnít show you the connections you need to know."

The Diocese of Davenport is one of few dioceses nationwide with a database such as this, he said. The dioceseís size, compared to a large archdiocese such as Los Angeles, as well as a bankruptcy court judge who "insisted she was going to hold her feet to the fire" makes it easier to compile the information, he added.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy in October 2006 after it lost its first civil sex abuse trial. The diocese, its insurance company and the creditors committee agreed to a $37 million settlement, with the stipulation that all Catholic entities in the diocese were to be released from liability just as the diocese is.

The settlement included a list of 18 nonmonetary agreements, including the listing of all credibly accused in the diocese. The diocese released that list earlier this month, including 24 people. Last week, it released the parish-only assignments of the clergy.

The bankruptcy settlement includes a detailed matrix that assigns a dollar amount to the 164 bankruptcy claimants based on the severity of abuse suffered at the hands of clergy.

All told, sex abuse cases in the Diocese of Davenport have cost the diocese and its insurer at least $47 million. That number includes the settlement and $10 million paid to 45 victims before the diocese filed for bankruptcy.

To examine the Bishop Accountability database of accused clergy in the Diocese of Davenport, go to bishop-accountability.org/Davenport.htm.

Ann McGlynn can be contacted at (563) 383-2336 or amcglynn@qctimes.com.

 

 

 





 
 

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