Two Deceased Priests Added to List of Abusers after Letter Runs in Paper

The Associated Press, carried in Editor & Publisher
February 15, 2006

DUBUQUE (AP) The Dubuque Archdiocese is adding the names of two deceased Catholic priests to a list of those who allegedly abused minors sexually.

Including Robert Swift and Thomas Knox brings the number of priests to 16. The archdiocese's list was first released Jan. 4.

Swift and Knox were added after a man from Stevens Point, Wis., wrote a letter to the editor of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. The newspaper published the contents Jan. 22.

In the letter, the man alleges he was sexually abused at age 13 by Swift at Sacred Heart parish in Oelwein. He said he also informed the Archdiocese Review Board for Sexual Abuse of Minors that he saw Swift abuse others.

"I also told about boys I knew who were abused by the Rev. William Goltz and the Rev. Thomas Knox ," the man wrote.

The letter writer, a psychology professor, said he suffered no lasting injury as a result of the sexual abuse.

Knox, Goltz and Swift were priests at Sacred Heart in Oelwein during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The Goltz after retirement lived in Prairie du Chien, Wis. He died Jan. 7 at age 80. He was previously named on the archdiocese lists of abusive priests and is named as a co-defendant with the archdiocese in several pending sexual abuse lawsuits filed in 2005.

Swift was born in 1918, ordained in 1944 and died in 1980. He was accused of sexually abusing several boys with the earliest claim dating to the 1940s. He served at parishes in Mason City and Anamosa and as the chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Oelwein. He also served at Garry Owen, Saint Anthony, Saint Joseph and New Melleray before accepting posts in Walker and Urbana from 1963-69, at Oxford Junction from 1969-74 and at Eagle Center from 1974-80.

Knox was born in 1910, ordained in 1942 and died in 1968. He was accused of sexually abusing a boy with the earliest claim dating to the 1950s. He served in parishes in Oelwein, Iowa Falls, Baldwin, Stone City, Forest City, Lake Mills and Eldora.

The archdiocese said inclusion on the list does not mean the accusation was proven in court or by an outside investigation or that the claim was acknowledged by the priest.

In December, Pope Benedict XVI directed a penal precept be imposed on Goltz prior to his death. The pope directed Goltz to "lead a life of prayer and penance," noting the priest's advanced age and that Goltz already received penalties following a church trial in the 1950s conducted by then-Dubuque Archbishop Leo Binz. Goltz also could not represent himself in public as a priest.

Pending litigation in Fayette County against Goltz and the archdiocese indicates that following the church trial --- after being on sick leave in New Mexico and at abbeys and rectories in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa --- Goltz was reassigned. He served in parishes within the Dubuque Archdiocese, including St. Joseph's Church in Waterloo from 1978-80. Archdiocesan directories list Goltz as retired by the early 1990s.


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