For Immediate Release: Statement from the Diocese of Sioux City
Diocese of Sioux City
November 7, 2018
We are well aware of and understand the public, our parishioners’ and victims’ dismay at the information released in the Associated Press (AP) article dated October 31, 2018 regarding Jerry Coyle. We know that the AP reporter is now investigating all of our past and present actions at the Diocese of Sioux City, in order to create his next story. We are researching old records with the Review Board, an advisory board made up of lay people in the Diocese, including licensed therapists, a judge, nurses, police officers, and a psychiatrist, who advise the Bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in his determination of suitability for ministry; offer advice on all aspects of these cases; and make recommendations they deem appropriate to reduce the risk to children. The issue that is most important for the public to understand is that many of the allegations made in the past, prior to the 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” were not followed up with an investigation by civil authorities. The Church often sent priests to treatment, in hopes that any actions of misconduct could be cured. We know now that is not the way to handle any allegation of sexual misconduct, and with the 2002 Charter to guide us, we have protocols in place to follow, which we do. When victims report as adults, the statute of limitations often has passed, meaning that the alleged abuser priest could not be prosecuted, even if the allegation from the past is deemed credible. This makes it very difficult to know what to do with priests that have allegations made against them, but no prosecution by civil authorities, and no incarceration for the alleged crime.
It should be noted that after the 2002 Charter we asked the Woodbury County Attorney and other county attorneys to come in and look through priest records. At that time, they declined for various reasons including: because the statute of limitations had passed, and many of the priests accused were dead.