Dubuque Archdiocese Releases Report on Clergy Abuse

Sioux City Journal
January 6, 2006

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque said in a report that 20 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children have been filed in recent months involving eight priests.

The annual report, dated Jan. 4, summarizes activities involving allegations of abuse in the past year and names the priests.

Lawsuits have been filed in recent months against the archdiocese in connection with the Revs. Albert Carman, Albert Forster, William Goltz, Patrick McElliott, John Peters, William Roach, John Schmitz and William Schwartz, the report said.

Carman, Forster, McElliott, Peters, Roach and Schmitz are dead.

Goltz, 80, who had several allegations of abuse logded against him is prohibited by the Vatican from celebrating Mass or administering sacraments publicly and from wearing clerical garb or presenting himself publicly as a priest. He was named in three lawsuits filed last year.

Schwartz, 73, had several complaints of abuse alleged by boys. The archdiocese settled a lawsuit naming Schwartz in 2004 for $100,000. Three others were filed last year. Schwartz, who is retired and living in Arizona, was defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI in December.

Allegations of sexual abuse of boys were made against the Rev. Allen M. Schmitt, 60, in 2002. His activities were restricted by church officials in 2002.

Several boys alleged abuse by the Rev. Timothy DeVenney, 42, in 1996. He was placed on administrative leave in 1996, pleaded guilty to eight counts of lascivious acts with a child and four counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in 1997. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Previous allegations had been made against the Revs. Joseph Patnode, Henry Dunkel, John Brickley and Robert Reiss. Patnode died in 1977 and Dunkel and Brickley died in 1998. Reiss died in Mexico last year.

The Rev. Michael Fitzgerald admitted in 2000 to improper use of the Internet, but he denied sexual abuse of a minor. He resigned as pastor of a church in Marion. He died in a car accident in 2001.

The archdiocese, which has 232 diocesan priests, 69 deacons and serves 201 parishes and 60 schools, said other allegations have been made but have not been made public for various reasons.

The archdiocese covers 30 northeast Iowa counties and the cities of Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Mason City.

The archdiocese said legal and professional fees from the lawsuits totaled $101,132 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. It paid out $25,276 for counseling and other medical assistance in eight cases and settled three cases at a cost of $305,000, the report said.

The archdiocese has conducted investigations of several priests and submitted the results of the investigation to the Vatican. Some of the cases are still awaiting action by the Vatican, the report said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established rules in 2002 for the handling of abuse complaints and providing assistance to victims.

The archdiosese said it has been audited several times by an outside group to ensure compliance with those rules.

David Clohessy, national director for Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said the report offers more detail about sex abuse cases by priests but could still be better.

"I would say it's a long overdue relatively small step forward that needs to be both emulated and improved by other Iowa Catholic bishops," he said.


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