May 10, 2005

Jury rules Janssen must pay

Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

A Scott County jury awarded damages of almost $1.9 million Monday in a civil lawsuit against former priest James Janssen, finding that he abused his nephew while serving as a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Davenport.

The unanimous verdict came after about four hours of deliberations, with jurors concluding that James Wells, 56, of Bettendorf, should collect damages from his uncle for nine years of sexual abuse that ended in 1962 despite filing his lawsuit more than 40 years later.

The jury awarded $1.26 million to Wells in compensatory damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages and loss of function of mind or body, along with $632,000 in punitive damages for “willful and wanton disregard for the rights or safety of another.”

Wells thanked each juror, shaking hands as they walked out of the courtroom, before turning and hugging his attorney, Craig Levien.

“I’m very happy,” Wells said after the verdict was read. “It took me years to get this far, and I was able to do it for those who can’t.”

Posted by kshaw at May 10, 2005 05:26 AM