February 10, 2006

Report Sheds Light On Soens' Alleged Abuse


Continuing litigation against a former Sioux City bishop is shedding light on the allegations against him. Lawrence Soens is accused of inappropriately touching students while he was principal at an Iowa City school back in the 1960's. One man now says the former bishop involved him in an act called "purpling," which causes bruising of the chest.

Soens is also accused of fondling several students during his tenure in the Davenport diocese. They're accusations that Soens adamantly denies. "Bishop Soens denies the allegations and he will continue to deny them in court," says Soens' Attorney, Tim Bottaro. Soens breaks his silence about the sexual abuse case against him, through his attorney. And, for the first time, we hear exactly what he's accused of.

On Monday, lawyers for his accuser filed this document against the former Sioux City bishop. It's the investigation the Davenport diocese launched against Soens in 2002. In it the accuser says on more than one occasion, Father Soens rubbed his hand against his private parts. But, under the 2002 sexual misconduct policy of the Davenport diocese... A committee found the actions "not sexual in nature." instead, they say those were inappropriate disciplinary measures. A year after the committee handed down it's findings, the U.S. Conference of Bishops met, and the the diocese's sexual misconduct policy was changed. "Those set out a number of rules and requirements for diocese to follow in investigating complains of sexual abuse, in disciplining priests, and essentially set down some zero-tolerance rules for sexual abuse of minors by clergy," says Rand Wonio, Davenport diocese Attorney.

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2006 08:16 AM