“I buried these memories very deep,” – Florida man accuses former Dubuque Pastor Leo Riley of sexual abuse

KCRG-TV [Cedar Rapids IA]

April 26, 2024

By Abigail Kurten

A Florida man referred to as John Doe is one of 5 men who have come forward accusing Riley of sexual abuse.

A Florida man going by the name ‘John Doe’ says a priest from Dubuque sexually abused him as a child. Earlier this week, prosecutors charged Father Leo Riley with five counts of sex abuse in Dubuque.

Investigators say Riley sexually assaulted four altar boys while working as an associate pastor at Resurrection Parish in Dubuque in the 1980s. Doe said he was another victim of Riley’s in the early 2000s in a press conference in Sarasota on Friday. He claims Riley abused him while he was a child at St. Charles school in Port Charlotte, Florida.

“I never told anybody back then. He said that if I told he would do to my sister what he was doing to me. I buried these memories very deep but I couldn’t keep them buried forever.” said Doe.

Doe is one of 5 men who have come forward accusing Riley of sexual abuse.

4 Iowa men have claimed Riley abused them during his time in Dubuque.

After Riley’s arrest on Wednesday, the Diocese of Venice in Florida released a statement:

“The Diocese of Venice has just learned that Father Riley has now been arrested. We pray that the Lord of Truth and Light will guide us all in His ways moving forward. We pray, today and always, for the healing of all victims of abuse. May the light of truth and justice alleviate their pain and suffering, and may the Lord grant them healing, and peace.”

The Diocese of Venice also claimed they immediately placed Riley on administrative leave after Florida investigators began looking into Riley last May.

But Doe’s attorney, Damian Mallard, disputes this claim, after Doe filed a civil lawsuit against Riley in 2020.

“The Diocese itself notified Charlotte County through the state attorney’s office in August of 2020 of my client’s allegations. Therefore, despite these indisputable facts, Father Riley as not suspended or removed from his position immediately, as the Diocese press release claims. But rather, not until May of 2023.” said Mallard.

During Friday’s press conference, Mallard also praised Jeff Buccheit, an Iowa man who accused Riley of abuse back in 2015, even though an investigation by the Catholic Church claimed his accusations were unfounded.

Mallard says he’s actively working to get a hold of that 2015 investigation, but hasn’t been able to do so yet.

He also encourages any other victims to step forward and share their story.

Riley is awaiting extradition back to Dubuque, and is currently held on $100,000 bail. No charges have been filed in Florida at this time.