Bishop Accountability
  Sexual Abuse Matters Pending

Iowa City Press-Citizen
August 20, 2004

Several sexual abuse matters involving priests who served in Iowa City parishes remain pending, said Rand Wonio, an attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport.

In February, the diocese asked the Vatican to defrock five priests accused of sexual abuse.

Three of those priests included Richard Poster, who served as parochial vicar from December 1992 to August 1995 at St. Mary's Church, 302 E. Jefferson St.; William F. Wiebler, who served as an assistant pastor from August 1967 to August 1969 at St. Mary's; and Francis Bass, who worked as the lead pastor from January 1978 to August 1981 at St. Patrick's Church, 228 E. Court St.

In August 2003, Poster pleaded guilty to a federal count of possession of child pornography. While at an Oxford Junction church in December 2002, 270 computer files containing child pornography were discovered on Poster's computer. He was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

Records show the Diocese received a report in 1992 showing that Bass had sexually abused a minor in 1964. In 1998, the Diocese received another report that Bass had abused another minor in the 1960s. Additional allegations of abuse against Bass recently have been received by the Diocese. Bass retired in October 1992 and lives in Davenport.

The Diocese received allegations of sexual abuse against Wiebler that date back to the 1970s and '80s. The February report states that Wiebler has admitted to several acts of abuse with several minors. His last pastoral position ended in 1985 in Ottumwa and retired in 1991.

Wonio said the defrocking paperwork has been forwarded to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, D.C.

"There's been a fair amount of press lately that the Vatican is backed up with those applications and we don't know how long it's going to take for them to process that stuff," Wonio said. "We hope sooner rather than later."


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