January 16, 2005

Three men drop sex abuse lawsuits against individual priests

Sioux City Journal

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) -- Three men who settled lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests in the Davenport Catholic Diocese have decided to drop their cases against the individual priests.

The three men want to try to move on with their lives instead of pursuing the lawsuits, filed against former priest James Janssen and retired Rev. Francis Bass, said Davenport attorney Craig Levien.

The men did not think that the mental distress to them in continuing the litigation process would be worth the benefit of proceeding to a trial, he said. All three men are from Fort Madison but identified only as John Doe, John Doe III, and John Doe IV.

The dismissals came among court filings that dismissed the diocese -- but not the priests -- from lawsuits as part of a $9 million settlement reached with 37 people who claimed sexual abuse by priests.

Civil lawsuits continue against Janssen, Bass, the Rev. William Wiebler and Monsignor Drake Shafer, the vicar general of the diocese. Trials on those accusations have been postponed, pending a ruling by District Judge C.H. Pelton on how they should proceed through the Iowa court system.

Janssen and the priests have denied the allegations.

Posted by kshaw at January 16, 2005 07:58 AM