March 19, 2005

Ex-Inland priest named in rape case

The Press-Enterprise

01:37 AM PST on Saturday, March 19, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

A former Inland priest accused of fondling a San Bernardino girl during the 1980s is at the center of a new lawsuit alleging that he raped a girl in Iowa decades earlier.

The lawsuit filed last week in Iowa accuses the Rev. John Schmitz, now deceased, of sexual assault.

That litigation comes more than a year after a California woman sued the Diocese of San Bernardino, claiming the priest had fondled her during confession at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino in 1985.

The woman was about 12 years old when the alleged incident occurred.

The lawsuits have also raised questions about how Schmitz ended up working in the Inland diocese for almost two years after he had been rejected by the Archdiocese of Dubuque in Iowa.

Schmitz, who died in 1991, had been sent to a treatment center in 1982 after the Dubuque Archdiocese received complaints from parishioners about his financial management and his relationship with an adult woman, according to the archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at March 19, 2005 06:39 AM