Iowa Diocese Changes Legal Strategy in Sex Abuse Cases against Priests

September 6, 2006

Davenport, Iowa (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport is changing legal strategies in lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by priests. The diocese plans to defend itself before a jury against allegation of allowing sexual abuse to go unreported and unpunished.

Since 2004, the diocese has settled cases totaling about ten-million dollars. Church officials say they face financial ruin if they settle pending cases involving two former priests -- Thomas Feeney and Lawrence Soens.

Craig Levien is the attorney for several people suing the church. He says the diocese is going to court because its insurance options have run out and it is trying to shield assets.

The attorney for the diocese, Rand Wonio, disputes claims that a financial burden hasn't been borne.


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