March 08, 2005

Former Oelwein priest accused of child molestation

The Daily Register

Managing Editor

WEST UNION - Leaders of a local support group for clergy sex abuse victims announced this week that a child molestation lawsuit has been filed against the Archdiocese of Dubuque and Father William Goltz, for an alleged incident that happened while Father Goltz was serving at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oelwein.

The suit was filed in Fayette County District Court last Friday on behalf of a victim who only is identified in the lawsuit as "John Doe."

The abuse is alleged to have taken place in 1954, according to Steve Theisen of Hudson, who co-chairs the Northeastern Iowa chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group.

The suit states that Goltz was one of three resident priests at the Sacred Heart parish in 1954 and that Goltz became acquainted with "Doe" in the spring and summer of 1954, when Doe was 13.

Doe alleges that Goltz asked for help washing his car and Doe helped him, and that afterwards, Goltz asked that he go for a drive. Doe says they drove to a rock quarry in Fayette County, where Goltz sexually abused him. He said he also showed him illicit photographs of young boys that he kept in the car's glove compartment.

Doe also alleges that after the incident, Goltz was summoned to the parish for questioning by the Rev. Paul J. Maquire, one of the two priests assigned by the Archdiocese to the Sacred Heart Parish, and after Maquire questioned him, told him not to talk about the incident.

Doe also believes that a formal church trial was held against Goltz following a report of the abuse to the Archdiocese, and that as a result of the trial, Goltz was charged with a violation for being sexually involved with young men.

Doe also alleges that Goltz was found guilty and the Archbishop at the time banned him from celebrating Mass and hearing confessions, removed him from the parish, and required him to live under supervision in a house of penance, but did not report the crimes to civil authorities.

"We're appalled that Dubuque Catholic officials let Goltz remain around children despite years of 'treatment' for sexual problems at secretive, church-run facilities throughout the United States," said Theisen, co-founder of Iowa SNAP.
The suit alleges that following the incident Goltz took an extended sick leave in New Mexico, then returned to Iowa and was reassigned to Saint Ludmilla's Parish in Cedar Rapids in 1966.

He also served in parishes in Webster City, Hampton, Sand Springs, Dorchester, and Waterloo, ending his active priesthood at St. Jude in Cedar Rapids. He officially retired in 1992 and then moved to McGregor. In 1996 he moved to Guttenburg, according to court documents.

The court documents did not state where he was living at this time.
So far, there has been no response from the Archdiocese to the court filing.

"My heart goes out to this survivor of Goltz. Like so many of us, he has suffered in silence for a very long time," said Heather Smith of Waterloo, and also co-founder of Northeast Iowa SNAP. "We applaud his courage which may bring more survivors forward. We pray all parishes will begin to reach out to all survivors and demand change from Hanus."

She expressed disappointment that the archbishops still refuses to release the names of those who have had credible molestation accusations made against them. "In his eyes, I guess, the alleged privacy of child molesters trumps the actual safety of children," she said.

According to Goltz' work history, several years he apparently lived in other states. "Who protected children and warned parents when Goltz was sent to Wisconsin, and Ohio?" Theisen asked.

Both Smith and Theisen stress that victim-survivors can contact their group in confidence to talk about abuse.
"We let victims know they are no longer alone, that they are supported no matter how they choose to start recovering, and that despite the pain, there is hope," said Smith.

Theisen can be reached at 319-231-1663 and Smith can be reached at 319-939-4144. SNAP also has a nation-wide toll-free hotline, 1 877 SNAP HEALS. The organization's web site is

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 06:37 AM