Bankruptcy Motion: Woman Alleges Davenport Priests Abused Her

By Brian Wellner
The Quad-City Times
July 19, 2012

In a motion filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a woman claims she was abused as a child by three Diocese of Davenport priests.

The woman, 47-year-old Kathleen Bowman of Clear Lake, Iowa, brought her allegations after bankruptcy proceedings involving the diocese already were under way and has received a settlement. She now claims the diocese is failing to comply with its non-monetary bankruptcy requirements and requests a hearing, according to the filing.

One of those requirements is to identify on its website accused priests whom the diocese deems "credible."

Bowman claims she was abused by the Revs. John Bonn, Michael Broderick and William Dawson, and she wants the diocese to post those names.

She claims the chairperson of the diocese review board, Chris McCormick Pries, found her "credible" and that the board told her in a letter it believed her case, even though it will not identify the priests, the filing states.

The victim also says that Dawson was still alive when she first brought her allegation to the diocese in September 2011. Dawson died Dec. 13, 2011. Broderick died in 1984, and Bonn died in 1975.

The diocese responded Thursday afternoon, saying the victim is claiming abuse that occurred "decades ago" and her claims "have been exhaustively investigated" by an investigator approved by the bankruptcy court.

"The investigation included a review of hundreds of medical records spanning several decades and interviews with relatives of the claimant and others," according to the diocese's statement that spokesman Deacon David Montgomery sent to the Quad-City Times. "Additional requests for interviews of the claimant's relatives were denied by the claimant. The review board found that the claim of abuse by priests was not credible."

The diocese says it will file a response against the petition "because the diocese has complied and continues to comply with the bankruptcy plan and the orders of the bankruptcy court," according to its statement.

U.S. District Judge Lee Jackwig has ruled that the diocese can withhold the names of 18 priests whom the diocese deemed not to be credibly accused but whose accusers received financial settlements.

The judge also ordered that an accuser can come forward to request a hearing if the person thinks the diocese is not in compliance.

Bowman's attorney, Craig Levien, said Thursday that his client wants to explain to the judge what happened during her process of reporting abuse.

"She could not understand how the review board sent her a letter finding her credible and they believe her, and because of what are unrealistic burdens, the diocese refuses to list these priests as credibly accused," Levien said.

Levien added that a review of Bowman's case may shed light on accusations made against the 18 priests the diocese won't name.

The diocese, its insurance company and the creditors committee agreed to a $37 million bankruptcy settlement to cover more than 150 sex abuse victims. The terms included the creation of a list of credible allegations of abuse on its website, which includes 31 former priests, their places of employment, dates and other details.


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