Diocese Faces 20th Sex Abuse Lawsuit

By Nick Hytrek
Sioux City Journal [Iowa]
August 17, 2004

The 20th sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City is the first to allege abuse by a second priest.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Woodbury County District Court, alleges that the Rev. Everett Apt sexually abused William Fisher in the early 1960s while Apt served the parish in Alvord, Iowa. A former altar boy, Fisher alleges Apt committed "repeated, offensive and inappropriate sexual acts of sexual contact" with him when he was alone with Apt.

The lawsuit claims that the diocese knew Apt had sexual contact with children as early as 1950, but concealed his actions and continued to assign him to parishes. The diocese transferred Apt to a new parish whenever it learned his behavior might become public, the lawsuit said.

Apt died in 1985.

Fisher is suing the diocese for negligent supervision and conspiracy. He said his damages exceed $30,000.

As a result of the alleged sexual abuse, Fisher said he continues to suffer mental anguish, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In the suit, Fisher said his pain and humiliation was renewed on July 27 after he attended a funeral in Larchwood, Iowa, and was told by a priest that he was not welcome on church property because he was complaining of sexual abuse by a priest.

In the past year, 19 sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the diocese and the Rev. George McFadden. Those suits cover alleged abuse by McFadden while he served in Sioux City and other Northwest Iowa parishes. Four of the suits have been settled, the others are pending.

Nick Hytrek can be reached at 712-293-4226