May 06, 2005

Ex-priest retracts abuse confession

The Dispatch

By Brian Krans,

A former priest who confessed Wednesday to sexually abusing his young nephew retracted the confession Thursday, saying all allegations were false and 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, Jim Wells, beginning in 1953, when Mr. Wells was 5 years old. At first giving a broad-sweeping admission, Mr. Janssen later denied specifics of the allegations.

Thursday, he flatly denied all the allegations.

"May God strike me dead, I've never had sexual contact with that boy from when he was 5," he said. "It never happened. In front of God Almighty, it never happened."

Posted by kshaw at May 6, 2005 05:20 AM