May 04, 2005

Dowling Grad Supports Kenkel


POSTED: 4:29 pm CDT May 4, 2005
UPDATED: 5:23 pm CDT May 4, 2005

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Another student speaks out about a priest and a former Dowling High School teacher who's accused of sexual abuse.

A Des Moines man filed a lawsuit a week ago, accusing the Rev. Leonard Kenkel of sexually abusing him as a boy.

Richard Lehman Jr. graduated from Dowling in 1989. Lehman said he was quite close to Kenkel, and many students considered him a mentor and friend.

Lehman sent Newschannel 8 an e-mail calling Kenkel "one of the finest human beings" he's ever known.

Lehman said he stared at the television in shock last week, and immediately called former classmates from Dowling High School.

"I talked to friends after the story broke, none of us were aware of this happening. We just don't see it in him," Lehman said.

Lehman said he never heard those types of rumors and will never believe the allegations.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 08:14 PM