Diocese Settles Five Sex Abuse Lawsuits

By Nick Hytrek
Sioux City Journal
January 16, 2007

Five sexual abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Sioux City and a former priest have been settled.

Three suits involving unnamed men referred to as John Doe were dismissed Thursday.

A suit brought by Steven Bean was dismissed Dec. 29 and another filed by Kathleen Ryan was dismissed Jan. 5.

Settlement amounts are confidential, said Sioux City attorney Scott Rhinehart, who represented Bean and Ryan.

Alan Olson of Des Moines, who represented the three anonymous plaintiffs, was out of the office and unavailable for comment.

The diocese has reported that since 2004 it has settled lawsuits and claims that never resulted in lawsuits for more than $2.6 million. Diocese representatives could not be reached for comment on the recent settlements.

With the recent settlements, the diocese has now settled 27 sexual abuse lawsuits that have been filed since 2003. Three other suits are pending.

In most of the lawsuits, plaintiffs said former priest George McFadden sexually abused them when they were in their early teens or younger.

Bean and Ryan, who filed their suits early last year, alleged that McFadden engaged in sex acts with them while McFadden was assigned to Immaculate Conception Church in Sioux City.

In the John Doe cases, all filed in the fall of 2004, the plaintiffs said McFadden sexually abused them from 1969-72, a time in which McFadden was at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Jefferson, Iowa.

All lawsuits said the diocese knew of McFadden's behavior and covered up his actions by transferring him from parish to parish each time it learned of new allegations against him.

McFadden is retired and lives in Indiana. He has been suspended of his priestly duties, and the Vatican has prohibited him from presenting himself as a priest.

Nick Hytrek can be reached at 712-293-4226 or


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