Ex-Priest Appears on Perjury Charges

July 11, 2008

Davenport, QUAD CITIES — A Davenport priest defrocked for molesting young boys is now criminally charged with lying in court.

84-year old James Janssen made his first court appearance via videocam from the Scott County courthouse Friday morning. He's charged with three counts of perjury, accused of lying to hide his assets from sex abuse survivors who sued him.

In court, Janssen told the judge he was hiring his own attorney to represent him on the three felony charges. He also said he had mistakenly omitted another source of income he receives from a monthly pension.

Prosecutor Mike Walton says Janssen lied under oath about transferring more than 700 thousand dollars worth of savings bonds to relatives after his nephew James Wells won a civil lawsuit against him.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, "A review of records and transcripts show that Janssen engaged in a continuing scheme to transfer and hide his assets from creditors while continuing to falsely testify regarding his knowledge of these assets".

Wells was molested by his uncle the priest for years, starting at the age of five.

Janssen will appear in court with his attorney Monday. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison on each charge.

He was never criminally charged in the sex abuse cases because the statute of limitations had run out.

Several other men who says Janssen molested them as boys decades ago settled out of court.


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