Diocese's Study to Assess Support for Fundraising

By Erin Jordan
Des Moines Register
August 15, 2008

The Catholic Diocese of Davenport will launch a study to see whether there is support for a major fundraising drive to recover from bankruptcy after a clergy abuse scandal, officials announced Thursday. The diocese, which includes 83 parishes in the southeastern quarter of Iowa, has also hired a development director to lead fundraising efforts.

"After the first of the year when we began to realize we'd be coming out of bankruptcy, we saw a need for us to get back on our feet," Monsignor John Hyland said in a statement. "The only way that could take place was to begin the process of a campaign to raise money for the needs of the diocese."

The diocese has hired Sister Laura Goedken of Iowa City to be its first development director. Goedken, who will start work Oct. 1, has been the director of evangelization and stewardship for the Iowa City Catholic parishes since 2004, the diocese said.

The diocese named Community Counseling Services, a New York fundraising consulting firm, to do a feasibility study to see whether there is support for a major fund drive. The firm led a capital campaign for the Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., which also filed for bankruptcy because of priest abuse lawsuits.

In October 2006, the Davenport Diocese became the fourth diocese in the United States to go to bankruptcy court to protect its church assets from sex abuse lawsuits. This followed more than $10 million the diocese paid to settle claims from 2004 to 2006 and a $1.5 million jury award to one victim.

A federal bankruptcy judge in May approved a plan for the Davenport Diocese to give $37 million to victims of sexual abuse by priests and other diocese employees.

The judge also required nonmonetary restitution, including opportunities for victims to speak about their experiences.


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