IA--New ruling may show how IA archbishop handled abuse
For immediate release: Thursday, July 2
A new court ruling will likely shed considerable light on how the long-time head of the Dubuque Catholic archdiocese handled predator priests for years.
A judge in Minnesota is allowing an unusual clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit move forward. It seeks to unearth thousands of pages of long secret church records about pedophile priests. The same novel legal approach has been successful in four other Minnesota dioceses, forcing church officials to disgorge documents that had been hidden for decades.
Archbishop Jerome Hanus O.S.B. headed the Dubuque archdiocese from 1995 until 2013. He also headed the St. Cloud diocese from 1987–1994. There are 63 publicly accused child molesting clerics in that diocese, according to BishopAccountability.org (which has listed them all on its website). That’s a disproportionately high number for a relatively small diocese. (There are 39 publicly accused child molesting clerics in Dubuque, according to BishopAccountability.org, which has listed them all on its website).
We applaud this ruling and the brave victim who has found the strength to step forward and the wisdom to seek justice. We believe these records about abuse on Hanus’ watch will become public. When that happens, we hope that Iowa parents, police, prosecutors and parishioners will read them carefully.
It’s unlikely but it may be possible that Hanus might be charged with obstructing justice, intimidating witnesses, destroying evidence, failing to report known or suspected child sex crimes or other offenses.
It’s also possible – and more likely – that Hanus might have to testify under oath in open court about clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
And it’s even more likely that Hanus might be deposed and asked tough questions under oath. (In fact, the Star Tribune reports that the victim’s attorney will be seeking depositions of the current and former bishop and other top officials at the diocese.” That attorney says “The implications are huge.”)
Martin Luther King said “No lie lives forever.” We are encouraged that courts are increasingly insisting that Catholic church cover ups be uncovered.
(NOTE – Steve is in Dubuque today and may be available for interviews.)
Hanus’ track record in Dubuque on children’s safety was bad. He was likely just as bad in St. Cloud. Iowa’s archaic, predator friendly laws (especially the state’s tight statute of limitations) means that little about Hanus’ tenure here will ever be publicly exposed. That’s why this Minnesota court ruling is so important: because citizens and Catholics in both states deserve to know how their former bishop dealt with predator priests, wounded victims and innocent kids.
Despite tough legal odds, we hope every single man, woman or child who was hurt in the Dubuque archdiocese – no matter which archbishop headed it – will come forward, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, start healing and deter cover ups.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
St. Cloud Diocese to undergo unprecedented abuse investigation
Judge allows “public nuisance” claim; abuse files will be opened.
By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 1, 2015 — 12:51PM
The St. Cloud Diocese faces the prospect of making unprecedented disclosures about priests accused of sexual misconduct, under a ruling filed Monday in Stearns County court that builds on a series of legal victories for Minnesotans claiming clergy abuse.
Judge Kris Davick-Halfen ruled that lawyers can proceed with a “public nuisance” claim against the diocese by an alleged victim of priest sex abuse — a move that allows attorneys to investigate . . .
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