Diocese Wants Men Who Accused Priest Identified

Des Moines Register
December 22, 1995

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines filed documents Thursday arguing that a lawsuit against the church should be open to public scrutiny.

Two former altar boys - identified only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 - are suing the diocese and the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines, alleging that they were molested 20 years ago by a priest, who is now dead.

The men and their attorney, Peter Berger of Des Moines, are seeking to have the lawsuit sealed and the men's identities kept secret.

"Although they now plead anonymity to avoid adverse publicity, the defendants believe the plaintiffs had no such worry when they filed this case," diocesan attorneys said in documents filed Thursday.

Attorneys L.R. Voigts and Frank Harty also wrote that the church and its members "have a right to know who it is that is making claims against them and who seeks to recover damages from the church."

The men allege that they were abused by Monsignor Francis Zuch from 1970 to about 1975. The lawsuit alleges that St. John's and the diocese were negligent in allowing the abuse to occur.


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