12 More Boys Accuse Priest of Fondling

By Kathleen Sweeney
Telegraph Herald [Dubuque IA]
September 27, 1996

17 accusers: County attorney files new charges against the Rev. Timothy DeVenney Twelve more Dubuque boys say they were fondled by the former associate pastor at St. Columbkille Catholic Church.

The Rev. Timothy DeVenney was charged in June with fondling five male teenagers.

On Thursday, the Dubuque County attorney's office filed a dozen more charges against DeVenney.

DeVenney turned himself in to police before being charged with seven counts of assault with intent of sexual abuse and five counts of third-degree sexual abuse. Assault with intent of sexual abuse is an aggravated misdemeanor; third-degree sexual assault is a felony.

DeVenney, 33, pleaded innocent in August to six counts of third-degree sexual abuse. He is charged with fondling the genitals of five juveniles, ages 14 and 15, against their will while assigned to the Dubuque church between July 1993 and June 1996.

DeVenney's attorneys have asked that the six original charges be tried separately and that trials be held outside Dubuque County.

The new charges are similar.

In separate incidents since arriving in Dubuque, court documents state DeVenney touched the genitals of five juvenile males against their will while at a Dubuque rappelling site. Officials would not disclose the location.

DeVenney placed his hand inside the underwear of four of the five males, documents said.

Five other male victims say DeVenney fondled them through their clothes while they were strapped in a harness. Another youngster says DeVenney fondled him through a towel, and another said the priest tried to insert a towel under his genitals to fondle him.

The ages of the boys were not released.

Assistant County Attorney Chris Corken said the new charges stem from an ongoing investigation.

Dubuque attorney Thomas Straka, who is representing DeVenney along with Robert Day, declined to comment on the case.

DeVenney was released Thursday on a $10,000 unsecured bond and was allowed to return to his parents' home in Marshalltown, Iowa.

He is restricted from contact with the victims and supervision is required whenever he is with anyone younger than 18.

Trial for the first six counts of third-degree sexual abuse is scheduled for Nov. 18 in district court.

However, Day filed motions last week asking the cases be tried separately, saying the state did not provide enough evidence linking the alleged assaults.

Corken filed a counter motion Tuesday, saying the events and are " strikingly similar," linked by time, place and circumstance.

She said DeVenney will answer the 12 new charges in a separate trial.

Day also asked for a change of venue, stating DeVenney would not receive a fair trial in Dubuque County.

Corken challenged that motion, stating there is no evidence that DeVenney would be unable to benefit from a fair and partial trial, and most media reports would be accessible to all the communities within the district.

The county attorney's office also requested a list of witnesses and reports that will be used in the November trial.

Hearings on the motions have been scheduled for 3 p.m. at Oct. 31.

DeVenney has been on administrative leave since June 10 after a youth's complaint of misconduct, complying with the Archdiocese of Dubuque policy on sexual misconduct - in place since December 1993.

Monsignor David Wheeler, vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, said Thursday that once police began their investigation, the church stopped its investigation.

"Allegations were made and the legal process goes ahead to determine his innocence or guilt," he said.

DeVenney faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count of third-degree sexual abuse, and two years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each count of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.


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