Thursday, February 26, 2009

Former bishop's accusers credible

Sioux City Journal
Diocese: Former bishop's accusers credible
By Molly Montag Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2008
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Former Sioux City Bishop Lawrence Soens has been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing boys in the Davenport diocese, a church review has found.The Diocese of Davenport announced Monday that Soens was one of four church officials found by a review board to be credibly accused of sexual abuse. The others are Joseph Hines, Eugene Smith and Gerald Stouvenel.However, the review board determined that the Rev. Martin Diamond was not credibly accused.Davenport diocese officials said Monday that a church review board found that some of the 31 accusations against Soens are credible. The review board did not investigate all the accusations at the request of some of the victims.Soens is accused of abusing boys during the 1950s and 1960s while he was a principal at Iowa City Regina High School. According to the Davenport diocese's statement, another man said Soens abused him while serving as rector at St. Ambrose Seminary in Davenport.Kristie Arlt, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Sioux City, said Soens is not accused of committing abuse while in Sioux City."There have never been any allegations against him in Sioux City," she said.Soens served as bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City from 1983-1998.He lives in a retirement home in Sioux City. His attorney, Tim Bottaro, said that he is disappointed by Monday's announcement and that Soens denies the allegations.A victims advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was critical of the timing of the diocese's announcement, saying it would receive little media coverage, but urged abuse victims and witnesses to come forward."We hope now that finally the Iowa church hierarchy will use its considerable resources to seek out and help Soens' dozens of victims," the group said Monday in a statement.The Davenport diocese also announced Monday that a three-person panel of church attorneys found Monsignor Drake ShaferEarlier this year, the Diocese of Davenport not guilty of committing abuse. He will be restored to active ministry. named 22 clergy members with 150 abuse claims to the "credibly accused" list. Four of the priests -- James Janssen, William Wiebler, Francis Bass and Thomas Feeney -- accounted for nearly 100 of the cases.Quad-City Times Reporter Ann McGlynn contributed to this report.

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