3 More Accuse Ex-Priest of Abuse
George McFadden Has Been Accused of Molesting Dozens of People When They Were Children in the Sioux City Area

By Lee Rood and Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register [Iowa]
September 5, 2006

[Note from For more on McFadden, see Church Confesses Abuse by Priests, by Lee Rood, Des Moines Register (3/8/02); Church Secrecy on Iowa Priest Assailed, by Lee Rood, Des Moines Register (6/23/02) [with list of assignments]; Priest with Most Allegations Remains in Clergy, by Shirley Ragsdale, Des Moines Register (1/15/06); Former SL Priest Denies Accusations, Storm Lake Pilot Tribune (1/17/06). For a photograph of McFadden and other links, see the entry in our database.]

A former Iowa priest who has been accused in more cases of sexual abuse than any other Iowa priest is being sued by three more accusers.

The three people, who are not named in separate lawsuits filed in Woodbury County, sued the Sioux City Diocese and the Rev. George McFadden, who worked in numerous parishes in the Sioux City area from the 1950s until his retirement in the 1990s. They all make similar allegations against McFadden, who is now more than 80 years old and living in Fort Wayne, Ind. They also accuse the diocese of a cover-up in the aftermath of that abuse.

The diocese declined to comment on the lawsuits.

"Consistent with our policy, we do not comment on matters that are in active litigation," said Jim Wharton, communications director for the Sioux City Diocese.

Depositions in the cases are expected soon, according to Alan Olson, the Des Moines attorney representing the three plaintiffs.

McFadden has been accused of molesting more than two dozen now-grown men and women when they were children in the Sioux City Diocese. Many alleged victims and former parishioners have said they believe the diocese moved the priest from church to church to shield him from public scandal.

Despite his 1992 retirement, McFadden continued to hear confession and say Mass at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. Although he is said to have admitted to his superiors that he committed harmful acts, the diocese did not take steps to defrock him until numerous allegations against him were made public. He also has since vehemently denied abusing some of his accusers.

In December 2005, the Vatican, citing McFadden's advanced age, declined to defrock him. However it forbade him to have any public ministry or contact with children and ordered him to live a life of prayer and penance.

Two of the men who filed suit in Woodbury County - one of whom is an Iowan, the other from Oklahoma - allege that McFadden sexually abused them repeatedly from 1969 to 1972. The two say the diocese should have known "upon reasonable inquiry" that McFadden had a history of sexually abusing children or others while serving as a priest at other locations before the defendants were abused.

They allege the diocese was negligent in hiring, retaining or supervising McFadden while he was a priest. The third man, an Iowan identified only as John Doe III, said McFadden repeatedly abused him in 1971 and 1972.


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