Former Iowa City Priests Are Defrocked
Decision by Pope Doesn't Allow Appeal

The Associated Press, caaried in Press-Citizen
May 12, 2006

DES MOINES -- Two former Iowa City priests have been defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI, according to a statement released Thursday by the Diocese of Davenport.

William Wiebler and Paul Deyo had been restricted from active ministry while the Vatican reviewed their cases. The decision by the pope doesn't allow for any appeal.

Wiebler, who is facing several sexual abuse lawsuits, was located in February in Missouri after leaving a treatment program in St. Louis. Wiebler, who served as an assistant pastor from August 1967 to August 1969 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, was been accused of abuse dating to the 1970s and 1980s.

A 2004 report stated that Wiebler admitted to several acts of abuse with several minors. His last pastoral position ended in 1985 in Ottumwa and he retired in 1991.Deyo was accused of sexually abusing a boy in 1998 while serving at an area parish. Deyo served at St. Patrick's in Iowa City from 1991 to 1992, St. Peter's in Cosgrove from 1996 to 1997 and at St. Wenceslaus' from 1998 to 2000. He also taught at Regina High School from 1991 to 2000.

The defrocking of Deyo was voluntary.

The Davenport diocese also has acknowledged in the statement that Monsignor Thomas J. Feeney, a former vicar general, sexually molested children in the 1950s and 1960s. He has been named in at least two lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. The diocese had not previously commented on the cases but issued a statement Thursday saying it has found evidence to support the allegations.

"Bishop (William) Franklin encourages anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse by Monsignor Thomas J. Feeney or any clergy to report this," the diocese said in the statement, which officials claim was recently read in Davenport churches during service.

Feeney, who has been dead for 25 years, is accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy while he was pastor of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the 1960s. Another lawsuit alleges Feeney sexually abused a 7-year-old boy while on bird-watching trips to Credit Island in the late 1950s.

Feeney was appointed vicar general in 1968, the year after he allegedly began molesting the 10-year-old boy. He remained at the post until his death in 1981.

No settlements have been announced in the lawsuits, which were filed in July and January.


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