Clergy Credibly Accused
Diocese Names 24 Accused of Sexual Abuse in Bankruptcy Proceedings; Some Have Local Ties.

Hawk Eye
July 12, 2008

DAVENPORT — As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the Review Board of the Diocese of Davenport has determined 24 clergy members have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Named to the list are several clergymen, both living and dead, who served in Catholic parishes throughout southeast Iowa at various times over the past four decades.

Named to the list are: James Janssen, Francis Bass, William Wiebler, Theodore Geerts, Frank Martinez, James Leu, Thomas Feeney, Carl Meinberg, Herman Bongers, Richard Welsh, Thomas Hackett, Louis Telegdy, Donald Redmond, Fidelis Forrester, Placidus Kieffer, Raymond Kalter, Paul Deyo, Brothers Francis Skube and Mark Quillen (members of a lay religious group), Alphonse Wagner, John Kennedy, Bernard Brugman, Orville DeCoursey and Sylvester Conrad.

James Sweeney, an independent private investigator, was appointed by the bankruptcy court to investigate claims and is continuing to investigate some claims. When the investigations are completed, the review board may supplement the list.

The five-member Diocesan Review Board functions as a confidential consulting body for the bishop. Its functions include advising the bishop in assessing the allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in determining suitability for ministry; reviewing policies and procedures dealing with sexual abuse of minors; and offering advice on all aspects of responses required in connection with the cases.

For the review board to determine whether an allegation is credible, the allegation must meet one or more of the following criteria:

* More likely than not it occurred;

* The allegation is corroborated with evidence or other sources;

* Acknowledgment or confession to the abuse by the accused.

In regard to deceased or incapacitated clergy, the evidence must be clear and convincing, a higher standard used because the clergy is no longer alive to defend himself.

The Diocesan Review Board includes Clarence Darrow, an attorney, former Illinois circuit judge from 1986 to 1996, and former state senator, representative and state's attorney; Catherine Fouts, past president of the Diocesan Board of Education and vice president of the Newton School Board; Bernard Hardiek, retired president of Deere & Co. Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division and field audit branch chief for the Internal Revenue Service; Msgr. James Parizek, promoter of justice for the Diocese of Davenport and pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish in Davenport; and Chris McCormick Pries, associate director of Vera French Community Mental Health Center in Davenport and registered nurse and specialist in child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health nursing.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.