Bishop Accountability
  Diocese Faces 3 Other Lawsuits

By Todd Ruger
Quad-City Times
September 18, 2003

Three other lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by present or former clergy are pending against the Diocese of Davenport. Also, a Davenport priest has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of receiving child pornography on his diocese-issued laptop computer:

Vicar General Drake Shafer, the second-ranking official at the diocese, has denied the allegations in a lawsuit filed during June accusing him of molesting a teenage boy more than 30 years ago at a Fort Madison church. Shafer has said he is taking a leave of absence while the diocese investigates the allegations filed by Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Barton Conlin on behalf of a man identified only as a “John Doe” who now lives in West Burlington.

The Rev. Martin Diamond, now deceased, is named in a lawsuit filed in January 2003 in Lee County, Iowa, that alleges he sexually abused a Hamilton, Ill., man who served as the altar boy for Diamond’s parish at the Church of All Saints in Keokuk, Iowa, during the late 1960s.

Retired priest James Janssen is named in a lawsuit filed against the diocese during May in which a Clinton County man clams he was molested while serving as an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Parish in Sugar Creek during the late 1960s.

The Rev. Richard Poster, 38, who worked at the time as director of liturgy and associate publisher of the Catholic Messenger, the diocesan newspaper, pleaded guilty to receiving pictures of children engaged in sexual conduct.

He was accused of storing child pornography on a church computer. Poster used the computer on which images were found, and a diocese employee found images of child pornography on it Dec. 17 while wiping the computer clean of information, according to a search warrant filed in Scott County District Court.

Poster could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at his Nov. 21 sentencing.

Under a plea bargain, another charge of possession of pornography, which carried a five-year maximum prison term and a similar fine, was dismissed.


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