Assignment Record – Bishop Lawrence Donald Soens

SIOUX CITY (IA) – Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Soens was ordained a priest for the Davenport diocese in 1950. He worked in parishes and schools, including serving as principal of Regina High School in Iowa City and as a seminary teacher and rector. Soens held several chancery positions and was made a monsignor in 1981. He was appointed Bishop of Sioux City in June 1983 and was ordained and installed in August of that year. He retired in 1998.

In 2002 a man accused Soens of having sexually abused him when he was a Regina High student in the 1960s. The diocese kept this accusation and others against Soens quiet until 2005. At least 31 men have come forward since with accusations that Soens sexually abused them when they were boys. Most of the abuse is said to have occurred against Regina High students, beginning in 1958. Soens’ modus operandi is said to have been to persistently “purple”, or twist, pinch, fondle, and massage the nipples of male students, in private and in school hallways. He is also accused of fondling boys’ crotch areas over and beneath their clothes, and to have attempted oral sex on at least one boy. Soens denied sexually abusing the boys, but admitted to the “purpling” behavior. A diocesan review board in 2008 determined the accusations to be credible. In 2012 Soens retains the title Bishop Emeritus of Sioux City.

Ordained: May 6, 1950
Ordained and installed: Bishop of Sioux City Aug. 17, 1983
Retired: Nov. 28, 1998

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