February 21, 2006

Advocates for victims say bishops are stonewalling

Sioux City Journal

By Charlotte Eby Journal Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES -- Advocates for victims who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic clergy accused Iowa's four bishops of stonewalling during a meeting Monday to discuss a former bishop at the center of abuse allegations.

The groups want retired Sioux City Bishop Lawrence Soens, who is being sued for alleged sex abuse, to be prohibited from official church activities and to have no unsupervised contact with minors.

The groups saw Monday's meeting as a setback after a Feb. 2 meeting they called had an unprecedented discussion between bishops and victims rights groups. The bishops met with them for an hour and a half the first time, but cut Monday's meeting off after 30 minutes, they said.

Ann Green of DeWitt, who is a member of with Catholics for Spiritual Healing in Grand Mound, said they are upset Soens is still allowed to operate in a capacity of "honor and authority" in the church, celebrating masses and being involved in other church activities.

"We're concerned about the message that sends to Iowa children, and we're also concerned about the message that sends to survivors," Green said at a news conference on the steps of the Iowa Capitol.

Posted by kshaw at February 21, 2006 07:56 AM