Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bishop says Davenport diocese abandoned him to save itself

Bishop says Davenport diocese abandoned him to save itself
Associated Press - February 2, 2008 7:04 PM ET
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - An attorney for former Roman Catholic Bishop Lawrence Soens says the Davenport diocese has abandoned the bishop to save itself in its bankruptcy case.
Soens, who was bishop in Sioux City from 1983 to 1998 and principal at Iowa City Regina school from 1959 to 1967, has been accused of many acts of sexual abuse but has not been charged with any crime.
Soens maintains his innocence. He's now in his 80s and has removed himself from public ministry.
Soens is mentioned by name in documents filed Thursday as part of the Davenport diocese's bankruptcy reorganization plan.
The $37 million proposed settlement included 18 non-monetary items, which require the diocese to acknowledge and apologize for abuse by its clergy. One item requires the diocese to issue a report to the pope's diplomatic representative in the United States about Soens so that "appropriate action be taken."
The diocese had previously investigated claims against Soens and said that although his actions were inappropriate, they were not sexual.
Soens' attorney Timothy Bottaro says for the diocese to switch gears now is shocking and irresponsible. He says the diocese leaders are doing it only to save themselves in bankruptcy.
Diocese spokesman Deacon David Montgomery says the diocese sends reports as it uncovers new information.
Victim advocates says they hope the new report would result in Soens being defrocked, which would force him to leave the priesthood.

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