Two Former Priests Accused in Federal Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Associated Press
February 23, 2005

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Two former Waterloo residents have filed lawsuits in federal court accusing priests affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque of sexual abuse.

The first case was filed by a female victim who alleges she was abused several times in 1961 and 1962 by Patrick McElliot, a priest assigned at the time to the St. John's Parish in Waterloo, according to court papers.

The second case was filed by a man who claims he was abused as a teenager in 1979 by William Schwartz, who at the time was the spiritual director at Columbus High School in Waterloo.

The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, and each names the Archdiocese of Dubuque as a defendant. The man and woman, who both now live in Los Angeles, are each seeking more than $75,000 in damages for emotional distress and the costs of counseling.

The cases are the latest naming the Archdiocese of Dubuque, which announced last month it had settled an abuse case naming Schwartz for $100,000.

Schwartz retired in 1993 and is living in Arizona, according to court documents.

In the latest lawsuit, Schwartz is accused of sexually abusing the victim during an overnight trip to the Postville parish in the spring of 1979.

Months later, the victim, who was 15 at the time, submitted a written account of the incident to school administrators, and a short time later Schwartz was reassigned, according to court papers.

In the case against McElliot, the victim claims she had several private visits with the priest while she was a student at the parish school. During those visits, the lawsuit alleges McElliot took photos of the victim in various stages of undress and sexually abused her.

The lawsuit claims McElliot was removed from his duties at the school because of complaints filed by other students. He retired in 1979 and died in 1987.


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