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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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New court documents show numerous Catholic officials were notified
Support group applauds victims and witnesses for their courage while Archdiocese fails to live up to it promises
In a 200-plus page brief just filed in Federal District Court in Cedar Rapids court, attorneys for a clergy molestation victim argue that years ago, a number of Dubuque Catholic leaders knew about sex abuse by Fr. William A. Roach.
Jim Cummins of Dallas has filed a civil lawsuit against Roach and the Dubuque archdiocese for the abuse he repeatedly suffered from Roach in 1962.
Yesterday, Cummins' attorneys submitted affidavits to the Court that show that in 1956 or 1957:
-- the Archdiocese knew Msgr. Roach and Fr. John M. Peters "had engaged in sexual acts or had attempted to engage sexual acts with" children,
-- a priest within the Archdiocese told Fr. Raymond Roseliep about the abuse by Roach and Peters,
-- "multiple priests knew of Roach's and Peters's sexual proclivities," because of a party held at the Archbishop's summer cottage where they saw Roach "wearing only a red jockstrap, and where these same priests attempted to pair off with others in attendance,"
The documents also indicate that in 1960 or 1961,
-- another archdiocesan priest, Fr. Albert Manternach, received another abuse accusation against Roach
-- a "handful of priests and seminarians within the Archdiocese . . . participated in a homosexual lifestyle in a social setting"
In or around 1962, the records cite three more instances of notice to church officials of Roach's sex crimes:
-- A letter was delivered to Archbishop James J. Byrne from one of Roach's victims detailing Roach's sexually inappropriate behavior with him. The victim warned Byrne that Roach was likely to repeat this behavior. He also described the "troubling prevalence of homosexual behavior" on the campus of Loras College between some priests and students.
-- The late husband of one witness, Mary Ann Gureno, was sexually abused by Roach during a trip that to Las Vegas.
-- Another witness, Dennis Larkin, has stated that Roach "behaved inappropriately" with him at cabin or retreat house near Dyersville where five to ten priests had been drinking. Larkin and Roach were to stay overnight. After Larkin went to bed, Roach came in and tried to grab him
The documents also show that another victim, Jim Paddock, was sexually abused by Roach on the same overnight trip to northeast Iowa on which Cummins was abused by Peters.
"The abuse of both Paddock and Cummins took place in the same building on the same evening, but in separate bedrooms," the court filing asserts.
It raises the possibility that Roach and Peters had "conspired to lure Paddock and Cummins as victims. . . "with the intent of engaging in sex acts with them."
Archdiocesan Vicar General James Barta has claimed that "the earliest notice of abuse [received by the Archdiocese] was in 1992."
"Barta's statement completely ignores the undisputed fact that Cummins' parents notified Fr. Maurice Sheehy of the abuse the day after the second incident. (Appendix, p. 98). It also overlooks the undisputed testimony from Father David Pepper that he was asked by William Roach to engage in oral sex with him on one occasion" in between 1967 and 1969," according to the documents.
Steve Theisen of Hudson, Iowa SNAP Director, said, "I applaud the courage of these victims and witnesses. They are providing the information which Archdiocesan officials, Msgr. James Barta, the Review Board, and Archbishop Jerome Hanus failed to do when Hanus said he would have an open discussion and open dialogue. Victims suffer and children are not protected by the Archdiocese's attempts to circumvent the truth. It's shameful that the Archdiocese has been and continues to hide the truth while so many suffer. This is not something Jesus would do."
Fr. Peters and Fr. Patnode's history are below.
The 200-page brief is available upon request.
Fr. John M. Peters (per Catholic directory)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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