Bishop Accountability
  Report: Accused Priests' Service Widespread

By Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register
October 26, 2004

More than half the parishes in the Davenport diocese have been served by priests accused of sexual abuse of children, according to .

The analysis is included in an extensive new posting of diocese documents and news accounts archived on the Web site.

Terry McKiernan, the Web site's founder, discovered that accused priests served in 56 parishes over the past 50 years. Davenport currently has 84 parishes. The information was assembled from diocesan records, listings in the Official Catholic Directory, newspaper reports and court documents."It is an appalling list," McKiernan said. "We compiled detailed service records of the accused priests and have listed the towns, parishes, schools and hospitals where they served."

McKiernan said the accounting is still only partial because the diocese hasn't released names of deceased priests about whom credible allegations of abuse exist.

David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, called a credible research organization."Everything they do is documented," Clohessy said. "They're a group with one simple agenda - the truth. Unlike some sources, they have no intent to shade or doctor up the facts."

Rand Wonio, Davenport diocese attorney, said the Web site contains some inaccurate information.

"I saw the new material, and I think it is amazing," Wonio said. "They've added some assignments to James Janssen's record that are not in his personnel file."

Janssen was removed from the priesthood for allegations of sexual abuse of children.Wonio also denied that Janssen was assigned to work at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport or at Our Lady of Victory parish in 1996. Janssen was discovered to be covering for a priest who had the hospital ministry.

"Someone from Grand Mound blew the whistle that Janssen was helping the Rev. Daniel Manhardt at the hospital," Wonio said. "The bishop sanctioned Janssen again, told him to knock it off, and sent a letter to all priests telling them Janssen was to have no duties."'s efforts were enhanced because Davenport is the only U.S. diocese besides Boston where a judge has ordered a major release of files.

"These materials are of national importance and interest," McKiernan said. "They are unique in offering multiple descriptions of the abuse and cover-up - from the victims, diocesan officials and even the perpetrators themselves."


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