Diocese Settled 19 Claims for $1.8 Million in 2005

Sioux City Journal
March 31, 2006

The Diocese of Sioux City settled 19 sexual abuse claims against priests in 2005 for more than $1.8 million.

The diocese settled the claims for $1,835,000, of which 69 percent was covered by insurance. The diocese paid $457,500 of the costs and George McFadden, $96,250. McFadden was named in all but one of the claims.

The diocese settled 11 claims in 2004 for $805,000.

Since 2003, 28 lawsuits have been filed against the diocese, all but one of them naming McFadden. Five of them are pending, 22 were settled and the remaining one was dismissed by a judge, a decision now on appeal. Now retired, McFadden has been stripped of his priestly duties, and the Vatican has ordered him not to present himself as a priest.

In a news release Thursday, the diocese announced that it has been found in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The ruling was made by the Gavin Group, a national research organization that has audited U.S. dioceses for the past three years.

The audit included interviews with law enforcement officers, diocesan leaders, members of the diocesan Review Board and an abuse victim. It was the third consecutive year the Sioux City diocese was found in compliance with the policy, which was established by U.S. bishops in 2002.

In 2005, the Review Board for the Diocese of Sioux City considered eight allegations against six priests. Five of the allegations involved four priests who are dead. Two of the remaining allegations involved McFadden. The other allegation was withdrawn after the Iowa Department of Human Services concluded it was unfounded.

All costs associated with clergy sexual abuse cases are paid out of unrestricted diocesan funds such as endowment earnings, estate gifts and private donations.

New Sioux City Bishop R. Walker Nickless said in the news release that he is committed to protecting the young people of the diocese from clergy sexual abuse.

"As I begin my work in the Diocese of Sioux City, I pledge my full commitment to the protection of young people and express my sincere apology to anyone who may have been victimized by one of our priests," Nickless said.


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