May 07, 2005

Priest abuse lawsuit goes to jury

Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

A Scott County jury will continue deliberations next week after hearing closing arguments Friday in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual abuse against James Janssen, a former priest of the Catholic Diocese of Davenport.

An attorney for James Wells, 56, a nephew of Jannsen, asked the jury Friday to use monetary damages to punish the former priest for sexually abusing Wells for nine years starting in the 1950s.

“Is this man the saint, or is he the pedophile the evidence convincingly proves?” Craig Levien said, recalling testimony Thursday in which Janssen compared himself to St. Thomas More while recanting his previous admission that he abused Wells.

But Edward Wehr, the attorney for Janssen, 83, told the jury to put aside their emotions and deny Wells’ claim because he should have brought it years ago.

Posted by kshaw at May 7, 2005 12:34 AM