SNAP to Visit Iowa City Churches

By Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register
September 25, 2004

A regional victims advocacy group will hand out leaflets Sunday at Iowa City Catholic churches.

The northeast Iowa chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will approach worshippers after Mass at St. Patrick, St. Thomas More and St. Wenceslaus Catholic churches, parishes where the Rev. Paul Deyo served as a pastor.

"The purpose is to let abuse survivors in the Iowa City area know they are not alone," said Steve Theisen, co-founder of the group. "We'd also like to encourage parishioners to reach out in a nurturing and helpful way to abuse survivors. Several are afraid of the response and reaction of the people they go to church with."

Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White on Sept. 15 opened an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by Deyo.

The Davenport diocese learned of the allegation a year ago and reported it to the county attorney's office, but declined to disclose the victim's name. The diocese said the victim wanted his name to be kept secret. The abuse reportedly occurred in 1998. No criminal charges have been filed.

Congregations where Deyo served were told about the allegations on Aug. 28.

"Our parish is pretty devastated by the investigation of its former pastor," said the Rev. Michael Phillips, pastor of St. Wenceslaus, where Deyo served from 1997 to 2000.

"These are just allegations to this point," Phillips said. "We hope it isn't true. We have been praying about it."


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