July 23, 2005

NBC reporter accuses diocese of cover-up

The Dallas Morning News

10:52 PM CDT on Friday, July 22, 2005

By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News

Jim Cummins, a Dallas-based correspondent for NBC News, has accused a Catholic archdiocese in Iowa of covering up two instances of sexual abuse that happened to him almost 43 years ago.

Mr. Cummins, 60, has sued the archdiocese of Dubuque. The suit, filed in federal court in Iowa last year, does not identify him as a network newsman. This week, however, the archdiocese filed its written response denying the allegations and identifying Mr. Cummins as an NBC correspondent.

An Iowa newspaper, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, reported the professional connection last year, but until this week it remained largely unknown outside Iowa.

Mr. Cummins, reached at work in Dallas on Friday, declined to comment. His lawyer in Iowa, Chad Swanson, would say only that he planned to rebut the denials from the archdiocese.

The Dallas Morning News generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse, but Mr. Cummins agreed to publication of his name.

The archdiocese said Mr. Cummins' charges, even if true, were filed long after the statute of limitations has passed. In its legal response, it said archdiocese officials knew nothing about Mr. Cummins' claims until last year, when he filed suit. It asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Mr. Cummins, chief of NBC News' Southwest Bureau, was an altar boy and high school basketball star in Cedar Rapids. In the summer of 1962, when he was 17, he was abused by three priests, he said in his lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at July 23, 2005 07:41 AM