January 20, 2005

Retired bishop denies allegations of sexual abuse

Sioux City Journal

By Nick Hytrek Journal staff writer

Retired Bishop Lawrence Soens has denied allegations of sexual abuse that stem from alleged incidents some 40 years ago.

Soens, who retired as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City's leader in 1998, issued a three-sentence release through his attorney, Tim Bottaro, saying he has cooperated with investigations in the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, where the alleged abuses occurred.

Because of the ongoing Catholic Church investigation, Soens will not make further comments, Bottaro said.

The allegations surfaced Tuesday in a Davenport diocese report on sexual abuse accusations made against priests in that diocese. In the seven-page report, one paragraph refers to one allegation made against Soens prior to February and two allegations since then. All incidents allegedly occurred in the 1960s while Soens, an Iowa City native, served as a priest in the Davenport diocese.

None of the alleged victims has taken legal action against Soens, said Deacon David Montgomery, spokesman for the Davenport diocese. According to the report, the diocese in October settled one of the claims against Soens for $20,000.

Posted by kshaw at January 20, 2005 06:27 AM