Sioux City diocese settles sexual abuse lawsuit

Sioux City Journal

February 22, 2021

By Nick Hytrek

A man who had alleged that he was sexually abused by a priest in the late 1960s has settled a lawsuit against the Diocese of Sioux City.

Samuel Heinrichs had sued the diocese in October 2019, saying he was sexually and physically abused by the Rev. Dale Koster at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Mount Carmel, Iowa.

Terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, said Heinrichs’ attorney, Patrick Hopkins, of West Des Moines.

“We were able to resolve the case,” Hopkins said.

The diocese released a similar statement.

“The matter has been resolved,” said Dawn Prosser, director of communications.

The lawsuit, filed in Woodbury County District Court, was dismissed Wednesday.

Heinrichs, who was living in California when the suit was filed, was a student at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel grade school when Koster was the head of the school, and the abuse began in 1968 when Heinrichs was in the fourth and fifth grade and recurred when he was in the eighth grade, the lawsuit said.

“Koster used his status and substantial power as a priest to groom (Heinrichs) for sexual abuse, to convince plaintiff that the abuse was normal, to convince him that reporting his abuse would be futile and to sexually abuse him,” the lawsuit said.

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