Iowa man claims a church employee abused him as a child

KCCI.COM [Des Moines, IA]

May 3, 2022

By Marcus McIntosh

Edwin Graf says he was sexually abused by a trusted member and employee of his church, St. Patrick’s Parish in Corning, Iowa.

He says the abuse happened almost five decades ago, in the 1970s. He says he was sexually abused at least 12 times, starting when he was 13 and ending when he was 15.

“It’s not a pleasant thing to think about. Being a victim of childhood sexual abuse,” Graf said.

He said the church member and employee, John Ott, was his abuser.

Ott has been behind bars since 2013 after pleading guilty to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors in Kenya.

“There were people who knew. In particular, my priest that I told what was going on,” Graf said.

He said no action was taken on his behalf and that he suffered in silence.

“I started having severe depression. That has carried with me through my entire life. I have been hospitalized for suicidal depression 15 times,” Graf said.

Graf said it has made it hard for him to love, making it difficult to be a husband and a father.

“I don’t really claim to have grown up with a dad. I had a figure of someone who called himself dad,” Graf said

Graf, now 61 years old, says he went public last October.

He is stepping forward now after attempts at mediation with the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines did not work.

He said he wants to put this chapter with Ott and the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines behind him and find closure.

His goal is for the governor and the legislature to amend or abolish the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse.

He also wants to be compensated, believing that is the best way to reconcile his pain.

“It’s justice. It’s the only form of justice there is now,” Graf said.