Iowa - Defrocked Priest in Contempt of Court

Associated Press, carried in Telegraph Herald
November 9, 2007

DAVENPORT — A defrocked Davenport priest who was ordered to pay his nephew $1.9 million for years of sexual abuse is in contempt of court for hiding $80,000 in assets, a judge has ruled.

James Janssen, 85, faces up to six months in prison if he does not produce the savings bonds within two months, said Scott County Judge Bobbi Alpers.

"James Janssen has a history of financial transactions, which he has carefully and calculatedly executed in an effort to hide his substantial financial assets from any potential creditor," Alpers wrote in the ruling filed this week.

According to testimony, Janssen and his sister began cashing more than $712,000 in bonds on May 23, 2003 — the day after a media report detailed a sexual abuse lawsuit to be filed against him in Clinton County.

The money went to purchase a home, a car and other expenses, but about $80,000 is unaccounted for, according to accountant Gary Shapley, who researched Janssen's financial records at the request of the nephew's attorneys.

A Scott County jury in May 2005 ordered Janssen to pay his nephew for abusing him from 1953 to 1962, beginning when the nephew was 5 years old. At the trial, Janssen acknowledged the abuse only to recant the next day.

Janssen has never been criminally prosecuted but has been accused of abusing several children.


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