March 14, 2005

Support group critical of Dubuque Diocese in latest case

Radio Iowa

by Darwin Danielson

Representatives of a support group for people who've been abused by priests blasted the Dubuque Catholic Archdiocese today in the wake of a lawsuit filed against a now deceased priest. The lawsuit by an unnamed girl says Father John A. Schmitz sexually abused her at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Dubuque in 1959. Steve Theisen , the co-organizer of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, says they have several concerns about the case. He says, "The confessional was used to initiate the sexual contact with the child. The other things that're disturbing is that the affidavit or petition, there were four or five priests that were involved in the investigation of this, and they all knew about it and they all kept it quiet." Theisen says they're also upset that Father Schmitz was transferred from parish to parish and continued in priestly duties despite the church leaders knowing he raped a 12-yr old grade school girl. He says, "Society would not accept a serial rapist, or child molester to go places, yet uh, it seems like the Catholic Church harbors these people." A spokesperson for the Dubuque Diocese says they now have a process in place to handle abuse allegations.

Posted by kshaw at March 14, 2005 05:46 PM