Of the five non-Catholic members of the clergy who were accused, the report states that two of those reports “involve allegations within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution,” and concern “possible adult victims.”
The report outlined the steps each diocese in the state had taken to publicize the names of abuser-priests.
The report noted that the Diocese of Sioux City released a list of priests who were credibly accused of abusing minors on February 25, 2019, and has since added three names to the list. One of the priests was not charged with a crime, but was removed from active ministry due to a “serious boundary violation” with a minor.
An additional priest was accused of touching a male minor in 2002. The minor, who is now an adult, was contacted by the diocese to discuss the incident, and he “stated he was satisfied” with the diocese’s handling of the complaint and did not wish to further discuss the matter.
“The Office thinks the Diocese has operated in good faith to prepare and update the list,” said the report, and did not offer any recommendations to the Diocese of Sioux City.
The Archdiocese of Dubuque identified 31 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, and the archdiocese provided the names of an additional eight priests who were accused of abuse, but whose accusations were not deemed credible. The Iowa Attorney General’s office reviewed these eight names, and requested additional information about two of the priests, plus information about an additional five priests who were accused of abuse by people calling a state-operated hotline or online form.
The archdiocese provided the information in a timely manner, said the report.
“Since agreeing to legal settlements requiring the payment of considerable compensation to clergy abuse victims and the establishment of a list of credibly accused clergy, the Office thinks the Archdiocese has generally acted in good faith to voluntarily maintain and update its list of credibly accused priests,” says the report.
The Diocese of Davenport maintained a list of 35 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, and gave an additional 20 names of non-credibly accused priests to the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
“The letter states that nearly all of the priests listed were deceased and most of them were considered as part of the Bankruptcy proceeding,” says the report. “The letter also states that the Review Board planned to look again at the investigation materials relating to three of the priests identified in the letter.”
The state requested information about six of those 20 priests, plus that of four others who were reported to the state. The Diocese of Davenport provided information about 10 priests and the state agreed that all 20 of the non-credibly-accused priests were not credibly accused of abuse.
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Of the four remaining priests, three were awaiting a review from the diocese’s Review Board concerning their guilt. On May 6, 2021, the Review Board found that the accusations about two of the priests were not credible, and that accusations against the other were credible. That third priest was added to the diocese’s list of credible allegations, although he had died in 1992.
The fourth priest, who was found not guilty after a canonical process in 2016, is in active ministry.
The report states that the Diocese of Davenport “generally acted in good faith to maintain and update its list of credibly accused clergy.”
“The Office agrees with the Bankruptcy Court that the proper standard for all complaints of clergy abuse, including claims lodged against deceased priests, is preponderance of the evidence, not clear and convincing,” said the report.
The report raised the most questions concerning the Diocese of Des Moines. Unlike other dioceses, who produced a list of priests who had been credibly accused of abuse, the Diocese of Des Moines listed only priests whose accusations against them were credible and substantiated. A “substantiated” claim is “one for which sufficient evidence exists to establish reasonable grounds to believe the alleged abuse occurred.”
The Diocese of Des Moines listed nine priests on this “List of Substantiated Abuse.”