Bishop Acts on Abuse Allegation
Priest Put on Leave during Process
By Anne Marie Cox and Brian Osborne
Diocese of Des Moines
Febebruary 2, 2007
This week, an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor involving Father Phillip Hobt was made with the Diocese of Des Moines. Following diocesan policy, first contacted were law enforcement authorities, followed by contact with the chairperson of the diocesan Allegation Review Committee. Based on those conversations and a written report of the allegation, Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S. has placed Father Hobt on leave.
Therefore, Father Hobt can not function publicly as a priest. The allegation comes from a former student at Saint Albert Catholic Schools.
The actions of the diocese thus far have not determined whether Father Hobt is guilty or innocent, but rather follows a process that is designed to protect children.
"The allegation comes as a shock to all of us," said Bishop Charron.
"I understand there will be anger and grief among those who have worked closely with Fr. Hobt. However, our first priority must be in creating a safe environment for children who have been placed in our care."
The allegation currently rests with the Diocesan Allegation Review Committee, which is comprised primarily of lay volunteers who investigate the credibility of allegations of sexual > abuse of minors by clergy. It is chaired by a Pottawattamie County judge. Also among its > members are a child psychologist, police detective and an attorney. Fr. Hobt was ordained in 1992. He served for three years at St.
Augustin Parish in Des Moines. In 1995, he began serving at Saint Albert Catholic Schools.
The diocese wants to encourage victims of sexual abuse by clergy and their families to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate for counseling opportunities or to file a complaint. Victim Assistance Advocate Jo Mulvihill can be reached at 515-286-2031 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Diocese of Des Moines includes 82 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.
Contact: Anne Marie Cox, (515) 237-5057
Brian Osborne (712) 329-9000 ext. 339
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