Davenport Diocese Adds Three Names to List of Abusers

Des Moines Register
May 22, 2009

The Diocese of Davenport has added the names of two deceased priests and one former monk to a list of credible sex abusers.

The Diocese Review Board has determined that William Kerrigan and James Lawrence, both longtime priests who have since died, were credibly accused of sexually abusing children, the diocese announced this week. Daniel Emrich, a member of the Franciscan Brothers of Christ the King, was credibly accused of abusing a boy in 1981.

The names bring to 31 the list of clergy from the Davenport diocese who have abused children. The diocese has 83 parishes in the southeastern quarter of the state.

Kerrigan, who was accused of abusing a girl in 1954, served at St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa and St. Mary in Eddyville. He was on the faculty at St. Ambrose Academy and Ottumwa Heights. Kerrigan was defrocked in 1975 and died in 1988.

Lawrence, who was accused of abusing a girl in the early 1960s, served at St. Thomas More in Iowa City; St. Anthony, Knoxville; St. Mary, Eddyville; Sacred Heart, Ft. Madison; St. Irenaeus, Clinton; St. Mary, Bryant; St. Mary, Oxford; St. Mary, Davenport and St. Joseph, Davenport. Lawrence retired in 1995 and died in 2008.

Emrich is no longer in ministry in the Davenport diocese. Officials do not know if he is in ministry elsewhere, Deacon David Montgomery said.

In October 2006, the Davenport Diocese became the fourth diocese in the United States to go to bankruptcy court to protect its church assets from sex abuse lawsuits. This followed more than $10 million the diocese paid to settle claims from 2004 to 2006 and a $1.5 million jury award to one victim.

A federal bankruptcy judge last year approved a plan for the Davenport Diocese to give $37 million to victims of sexual abuse by priests and other diocese employees. Part of the settlement requires the diocese to make public a list of clergy who were credibly accused of sexual abuse. That list can be found on the diocese’s Web site at:


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.