May 05, 2005

Davenport priest retracts sexual-abuse admission

The Dispatch

By Brian Krans,

A former priest who confessed Wednesday to sexually abusing his young nephew retracted the confession today saying all the allegations are false and that he lied under oath.

Defrocked Davenport priest James Janssen, 83, said he was pressured by his lawyer, former Scott County prosecutor Ned Wehr, to admit the allegations were true.

Mr. Janssen testified in a civil sex-abuse trial Wednesday that he abused his nephew beginning in 1953 when Jim Wells was 5 years old. At first giving a broad-sweeping admission, Mr. Janssen later denied specifics of the allegations.

Thursday, he said he lied under oath when making those statements.

"May God strike me dead, I've never had sexual contact with that boy from when he was five," Mr. Janssen said Thursday. "It never happened. In front of God Almighty, it never happened."

Posted by kshaw at May 5, 2005 04:44 PM