March 08, 2005

Priest accused of sexual abuse while in Mystic

Daily Iowegian

By Dan Ehl, Managing editor March 07, 2005

An apparent settlement was reached between a former member of the Mystic Catholic Church who claimed he was sexually abused by a now-deceased priest and the Diocese of Davenport. The suit was dismissed with prejudice Oct. 14 in the Appanoose Iowa District Court.

Richard Clark of Winterset had filed 10 counts against the Diocese of Davenport in regard to incidents he charged occurred between 1957 and 1959 in the former Mystic church. The church was dissolved in 1999. He accused the late Father Louis Toledy of sexual abuse.

A "Dismissal with Prejudice,"according to its legal definition, is the act of a plaintiff dismissing a lawsuit upon settling the case. Such a dismissal may be dismissal with prejudice, meaning it can never be filed again, or dismissal without prejudice, leaving open the possibility of bringing the suit again if the defendant does not follow through on the terms of the settlement."
Bob Pontious of Clarkdale was an altar boy when Toledy was the priest in Mystic. He said he finds the charges difficult to believe.

"During a portion of the time that Father Toledy served the Catholic church at Mystic, I served as an altar boy in service to the church and its priest, along with other brothers and friends from those days," he said. "I saw nothing indicating any abusive tendencies exhibited by Father Toledy. I have spoken with others who served during the same period after learning of this allegation and they as well saw nothing exhibited that caused them any concerns."

"In approximately 1957," reads the plaintiff's court documents, "when Plaintiff Doe (Clark) was 13 years old, Defendant Toledy, using his position, authority, trust, reverence, and control as a Roman Catholic Priest, engaged in unpermitted, harmful and offensive sexual contact with the person of Plaintiff Doe.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 07:12 AM