July 20, 2005

Appeal deadline lapses in Janssen case

Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

A former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Davenport apparently has missed his chance to appeal a $1.9 million civil judgment in a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused his nephew years ago.

A district court judge on June 17 denied a motion for a new trial by James Janssen, 83, starting a clock that gave him 30 days to appeal a case watched by attorneys as a legal bellwether for similar lawsuits in Iowa.

At the end of the day Monday, no appeal had been filed.

"We're satisfied that there is now a finality," said Craig Levien, attorney for plaintiff James Wells and other men who filed sexual abuse lawsuits against Janssen. "It's vindication for the victims who stood up and told their stories."

Janssen, who was an active priest in the diocese from 1948-1990, could not be reached for comment Tuesday by the Quad-City Times. A woman identifying herself as Janssen's sister answered the door at the residence Janssen gave for himself at the trial and said Janssen had moved.

His attorney, Edward Wehr, refused to comment Tuesday, citing his withdrawal from the similar lawsuits pending against Janssen and his long-standing policy of not commenting about the case to the Times.

Posted by kshaw at July 20, 2005 06:37 AM