Parishioners Get Leaflets on Accused Priest
Demonstrators at Two Ames Churches Reveal the Name of a Clergyman Who Allegedly Abused Two Dozen Boys

By Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register [Iowa]
September 18, 2006

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims demonstrated outside two Ames Catholic churches Sunday, passing out leaflets notifying of an alleged abuser whose name had not yet been disclosed.

Information handed to Catholics leaving Mass at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church identified the Rev. Robert Marcantonio, who served in Iowa between 1971 and 1975.

A diocesan priest from the Providence, R.I., Diocese, Marcantonio enrolled in Iowa State University and earned master's and doctoral degrees there.

According to press reports and church records, it is believed that Marcantonio abused at least two dozen boys before coming to Iowa.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were asked to leave church property at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church by a man who identified himself as a church official, according to Steve Theisen of Hudson, Iowa chapter director.

"Still, we were able to give leaflets to about 25 percent of the people driving out of the church parking lot," Theisen said. "People stopped, rolled down their windows to get them."

The group got a warmer reception at St. Thomas Aquinas, where they handed out leaflets while standing on public sidewalks, Theisen said.

The leaflets urged anyone who was molested by Marcantonio to step forward and get help and those who may have witnessed abuse by Marcantonio or other clergy to contact law enforcement. The leaflets also asked the Iowa attorney general and U.S. attorneys to protect Iowa children by prosecuting all those involved in bringing known sex offenders to Iowa.

"I'm saddened but not surprised that Archbishop Jerome Hanus and the diocesan sexual abuse review board failed to notify these faith communities (about Marcantonio)," Theisen said. "The archdiocese brought in a known sexual criminal from out of state, harbored him, and we know of at least two boys who have said he molested them. We fear there are more."

"My heart goes out to these victims and their families," said Lori Day of Des Moines, Des Moines SNAP leader. "There was absolutely no reason Iowa children should have had to suffer abuse by a known criminal. The Dubuque Archdiocese and the other Catholic dioceses need to reveal all the names of sexual predators to which they exposed Iowa children."

Marcantonio's name is not on the list of abusers posted on the Web site of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The archdiocese offices were closed Sunday and officials weren't available for comment Sunday.


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