March 15, 2005

Reveal names of accused clergy, group says

Des Moines Register

March 15, 2005
Victims advocates on Monday increased pressure on Dubuque's Catholic archbishop to disclose the names of priests accused of abuse in the wake of another new priest-abuse lawsuit.

On Friday, a Dubuque woman identified as Jane Doe sued the archdiocese alleging she was raped as a 12-year-old student of Sacred Heart School in Dubuque by a priest who instructed her in the confessional to meet him in the school's basement. Once there, the Rev. John A. Schmitz raped her, the lawsuit alleges.

The alleged assault occurred in 1959. Schmitz died in 1991. The lawsuit states that the diocese knew of the assault within about a year because the girl told another priest in confession.

That priest took her to the archdiocese offices, where she repeated the account. When confronted with the information, Schmitz reportedly confessed, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement Monday, Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus said Schmitz was assigned to nine parishes from 1957 until 1982, when people from his last parish, St. Mary's in Greene, complained about his financial management and his relationship with a woman.

Archbishop James Byrne sent Schmitz to a treatment program, Hanus said.

Posted by kshaw at March 15, 2005 07:16 AM