May 04, 2005

Janssen misses court date

Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

James Wells took the witness stand Tuesday to publicly confront the uncle and former priest he accuses of sexually abusing him decades ago, but James Janssen never appeared in Scott County District Court to hear the testimony against him.

Instead, Janssen’s attorney, Edward Wehr, told jurors during the civil lawsuit trial’s opening statements that the 83-year-old former Davenport Catholic Diocese priest is “under psychiatric care” and “there’s no sense in him sitting here.”

Wehr also made several statements in open court to the effect that Janssen, who was an active priest from 1948 to 1990 and defrocked by the Vatican last year, admits abusing Wells and plans only to argue that the lawsuit was not filed within the statute of limitations.

James Wells testifies about evidence shown to him by attorney Pat Noaker during the second day of Wells’ civil lawsuit against his uncle, former Catholic priest James Janssen. Janssen did not attend Tuesday’s court session.
View Photo

“We’ve already made an admission on the record he’s done these things,” Wehr said while objecting to a question asked of Wells, 56, of Bettendorf.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 07:56 AM