Trial begins for retired Council Bluffs priest who's accused of invading students' privacy by looking at their genitals

By Mike Bell
November 30, 2016

The Rev. Paul Monahan

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Friends and colleagues of the Rev. Paul Monahan came to his defense Wednesday during a trial stemming from allegations that he looked at several teens’ genitalia while using the restroom during a track meet in Treynor, Iowa.

Monahan, 83, is a retired Council Bluffs priest and former principal at St. Albert Catholic School. He faces five counts of invasion of privacy.

District Associate Judge Gary Anderson of Pottawattamie County will decide if Monahan is guilty.

The defense brought forth several character witnesses, including Monahan’s friends, co-workers, alumni from St. Albert and others.

Each said he trusted Monahan, considered him an upstanding man of God and didn’t have issues with him, including around children.

Monahan’s personal physician also was called to the stand, though the public was not allowed to be present during his testimony as it concerned Monahan’s medical information.

Bill McGinn, Monahan’s attorney, later reiterated what the physician stated: that Monahan constantly needs to use the restroom because of bladder issues and he has balance problems, which require the use of a cane.

In his closing argument, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Doug Hammerand reviewed the testimony of the five students who alleged that Monahan invaded their privacy while at the urinals that day.

“Why would they make this up and lie under oath? Each student said they did not know who Monahan was but they saw him look at their privates,” Hammerand said.

Also testifying was an Omaha Police Department sergeant who said he witnessed a confrontation between Monahan and one of the students in the bathroom.

Each alleged victim was from the Logan-Magnolia Community School District.

“They are misinterpreting his physical limitations,” McGinn said.

Hammerand noted that each time a student would use the urinal, Monahan would use an adjacent urinal instead of one farther away.



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