26 Iowa Clergy Sex Abuse Cases Settle, SNAP Responds
By Steve Theisen
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
August 28, 2013
Twenty six clergy sex abuse victims have settled child sex abuse and cover up cases against the Dubuque Catholic archdiocese.
I applaud each of these brave survivors. Like all who have suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups, they endure and continue to endure the life-long consequences from trusting someone in a collar or a habit.
Like a small minority of those who have suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups, they have found the strength to come forward, expose predators and seek justice. All Iowa citizens and Catholics owe them a debt of gratitude.
At least 83 clergy sex abuse victims, represented by one law firm, have settled cases against the Dubuque Archdiocese, just one of four dioceses in Iowa. This is, we suspect, fewer than half of all such victims. We urge Iowa’s bishops to “come clean” and disclose ALL the settlements, those in which victims were represented by lawyers and those in which victims were not represented.
Before this settlement, there were 88 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Iowa Catholic clerics. Now, there are 90. Three of the newest settlements were against predators who the Archdiocese has seem to have slid under the radar and onto their Table of Accused (Fr. Graff, Fr. Wunder, and Fr. Wendling) or at least the Archdiocese did not well-publicize these cases.
Catholic officials will claim that they have put measures in place to prevent this from happening again. We in SNAP remain very skeptical of this claim. At best, it’s too early to tell whether any of the policies bishops hastily adopted a few short years ago area having any impact. Frankly, we doubt that they are. The crux of this crisis has always been that bishops have nearly unlimited power. And their power remains intact. So they continue to ignore and conceal child sex crimes for the same reason they always have: because they can.
No Archdiocese or institution can morally put its reputation above the safety of kids, teens, or vulnerable adults by being aware of sexual molestation and transferring sexual abusers from parish to parish and putting children in harm's way at parishes and church events.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups - by these Catholic officials or others – to find the strength to speak up, expose predators, protect kids and deter wrongdoing.