May 17, 2005

Iowa priest settles case two weeks before trial

Des Moines Register

May 17, 2005
Two weeks before his civil trial was to begin, a retired Davenport priest settled with 14 men who said they were molested by him.

The Rev. Francis Bass, 83, a former parish priest in the Davenport diocese, issued a statement Monday acknowledging the confidential monetary settlement.

"Given the number and nature of the claims and the extent of the evidence supporting them, I have concluded that it is not likely that I can prevail on the merits and that it is in my interest and the interest of all that these claims be resolved," Bass said in a written statement.

Bass also apologized to Wisconsin resident Steven Davis, 36, and "others I may have harmed," stating he hoped his statement would help the men in the healing process.

On May 9, a Scott County jury awarded $1.8 million to James Wells, who said defrocked priest James Janssen sexually abused him for nine years, beginning when he was 5 years old. At the trial, Janssen admitted the abuse only to recant the next day.

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2005 07:12 AM