January 19, 2005

Vatican has yet to defrock 4 Q-C priests

Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

The Vatican did not immediately remove four clergy from the priesthood for allegations of decades-old sexual abuse of children, the Catholic Diocese of Davenport reported Tuesday.

The diocese sent requests to the Vatican in June to defrock the Rev. Francis Bass, the Rev. William Wiebler, the Rev. Frank Martinez and the Rev. Richard Poster after issuing a report detailing sex abuse allegations against them, Bishop William Franklin said.

A request to defrock a fifth priest, James Janssen of Davenport, was sent at the same time, but the pope removed him from the priesthood July 28.

The diocese said the vast majority of 108 allegations of sexual abuse by priests are against Janssen, Bass and Wiebler, while Martinez appeared to initiate sexual activity with a minor who fled and sought help and Poster was convicted of possessing child pornography on a church computer.

The diocese reported that for Bass, the Vatican decided that “in light of the fact that Bass is retired and advanced in age,” Franklin should oblige him to “lead a life of prayer and penance, and to privately offer Holy Mass once a week for the remainder of his days in reparation for the crimes he has committed.”

Posted by kshaw at January 19, 2005 08:04 AM