Notice about allegation against Father Leo Riley

Archdiocese of Dubuque IA

May 23, 2023

By Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of Dubuque

[Note from To see image of Rev. Pates’ letter, click here.]

On 5 May 2023, an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made against Father Leo Riley, alleged to have taken place between 1985-1986, when he was assigned as an associate pastor at Resurrection Parish in Dubuque.

A letter about Father Riley was written to parishioners in February of 2015. That previous letter was in reference to a separate allegation of sexual abuse of a minor alleged to have also taken place during this time period at Resurrection Parish.

Retired Archbishop Jackels said of the 2015 investigation outcome, “The best information available does not support a reasonable belief that the allegation is true. Therefore, in the matter of the accusation made against Father Riley, unless additional evidence is presented, there is no need to pursue it any further.”

Father Riley was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1982, and requested a move to the Diocese of Venice, Florida in 2002, to be closer to his parents. He was incardinated into (became a priest of) the Diocese of Venice in 2005.

Archdiocesan personnel responded to the most recent allegation from 5 May 2023, and immediately began operating in accordance with archdiocesan abuse allegation policies.

I have spoken with the Bishop of Venice, the Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, who has placed Father Leo Riley on administrative leave while the Archdiocese of Dubuque Review Board for the Protection of Minors begins an investigation.

Part of the preliminary investigation, according to the policy of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, is to notify the parishes in the Archdiocese of Dubuque where Father Riley served before he transferred to the Diocese of Venice. If you know of any allegations of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Father Riley when he was assigned for ministry in your area, contact Lynn Osterhaus, Staff Contact for the Office for the Protection of Children, at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center (1229 Mt. Loretta Avenue, Dubuque, IA 52003; 563-556-2580).

It is a top priority for me that we address all allegations of sexual abuse with utmost transparency, consistency and accountability outlined by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People; the comprehensive set of procedures established by United States Catholic bishops over twenty years ago. This archdiocese continues to work diligently to ensure a safe environment for children and all vulnerable individuals in our churches and schools. Please join me in our continued commitment to do all that is humanly possible to protect minors from harm and to create a safe environment for involvement in Church activities.

In the service of the Lord, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Richard E. Pates
Apostolic Administrator