May 04, 2005

Priest accused of sexual abuse in civil trial doesn't show in court


DAVENPORT, Iowa A defrocked Roman Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse almost 50 years ago was not in the courtroom for the first day of testimony in a civil trial against him.

The case against James Janssen started yesterday (Wednesday).

A 56-year-old man, who claims he was abused as a child, is suing James Janssen. In his lawsuit, the man claims Janssen abused him in the early 1950s and that church officials kept the secret for more than four decades.

Janssen has denied the claims, but the Vatican stripped him of the priesthood last fall at Bishop William Franklin's request.

Judge C.H. Pelton has ordered Janssen to be in court and ready to testify. The plaintiff's attorney, Craig Levine, says if Janssen doesn't show up in court, he'll move for a default judgment.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 07:51 AM