Bishop Accountability
  Diocese Ends Priest Investigation

By Todd Ruger
Quad-City Times
August 25th, 2004,1033777

An internal investigation has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest in Johnson County during 1998 is credible, the Catholic Diocese of Davenport announced Tuesday.

The diocese will not immediately identify the priest or his past assignments, in accordance with its policies regarding reports of sexual abuse, diocese attorney Rand Wonio said Tuesday.

Instead, an announcement will be made after the parishes and entities where the priest worked have been notified and consulted about the best way to inform the public, he said.

“We need to talk to them first,” he said, referring to the places where the priest has worked.

That aspect of the policy allows persons who may have been victims of sexual misconduct in those places to know that they may come forward for assistance, he added.

The diocese made the announcement after completing its internal investigation of the allegation, which was reported to church officials last year. The priest in question has been restricted from active duty since last year, pending the outcome of the investigation, the diocese said.

“If we had found the allegations were unfounded, we certainly wouldn’t be going forward with the process,” Wonio said.

The subject of the allegation was functioning outside the Davenport Diocese as a priest, but he was not at a parish at the time of his suspension, Wonio said.

“That particular diocese wanted him to function in that capacity. He wasn’t transferred there.”

“This is a thing people are going to be told,” he said, referring to the priest’s identity and assignments. “We’ve got to follow our policies.”

Bishop William Franklin and the diocese Review Board have decided what action to take against the priest, Wonio said. He said that action will be part of the announcement.

The board ordered the investigation after learning of the allegation in 2003, the diocese said. The incident was reported to an assistant in the Johnson County Attorney’s office during July of that year.

The criminal statute of limitations on the allegation has not expired, meaning it could be prosecuted in court, the diocese said.

Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White said Tuesday that his office is continuing an informal information-gathering process regarding the alleged incident.

Todd Ruger can be contacted at

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