Accused Priest Sues Aid Society

By Dustin Lemmon
Quad-City Times [Davenport IA]
February 24, 2006

A retired Davenport priest named in several lawsuits for allegedly sexually abusing young boys has filed a suit of his own against the Priests' Aid Society of the Diocese of Davenport.

The Rev. Francis Bass filed the suit in Scott County District Court this week claiming the Priests' Aid Society is responsible for paying his medical and dental expenses. The society provides aid to retired priests.

According to the lawsuit, the society told Bass that he was no longer a member and that it no longer would pay his Medicare supplemental insurance on Sept. 28, 2004. In the suit, Bass claims he has paid more than $10,000 out-of-pocket since Oct. 31, 2004.

The lawsuit claims there is nothing in the society's bylaws that allow it to forfeit his benefits.

Bass, 83, of Davenport, retired from the priesthood in 1990 and paid dues to the society annually. He had been a member of the society since 1968.

Rand Wonio, a Davenport attorney who represents the diocese, said he hadn't heard about the lawsuit, but said the society is a separate legal entity with its own board of supervisors.

Msgr. Francis Henrickson of Tipton, Iowa, the secretary for the society's board of supervisors, said Thursday he hasn't seen a copy of the lawsuit, but the board plans to meet to discuss it next week. He declined further comment.

A hearing date has not been set.

Bishop William Franklin of the Diocese of Davenport has filed a request to the Vatican to have Bass defrocked. The retired priest allegedly abused at least half a dozen boys and has been named in several lawsuits filed by abuse victims against the diocese.

Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or


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