Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release:
Monday, November 3, 2008

Bishop guilty of child molestation; Sex abuse victims respond

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

This is a very belated and begrudging admission of horrific wrong-doing that for decades was shrewdly concealed by corrupt Catholic officials. We hope now that finally the Iowa church hierarchy will use its considerable resources to seek out and help Soens' dozens of victims.

We resent that Davenport's bishop deliberately makes this announcement at a time when he knows it will receive inadequate public attention. At the same time, however, we hope this admission will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered these priests' crimes to come forward, get help and call police.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
Review finds retired Catholic bishop guilty of sex abuse

ERIN JORDAN • • November 3, 2008

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport announced four priests, including retired Bishop Lawrence Soens, have been found guilty of sexual abuse by a diocesan review board.

Soens, Joseph Hines, Eugene Smith, and Gerald Stouvenel will be added to a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing children, the diocese announced this afternoon.

Monsignor Drake Shafer has been found not guilty and will be restored to active ministry, the diocese announced. Shafer was second-in-command in the diocese until he was suspended in 2003 after a West Burlington man sued him for alleged sexual molestation. The case was settled out of court.

The review board found Soens guilty of sexually abusing students at Iowa City Regina High School in the 1950s and 1960s, when he was principal. Soens was also found guilty of sexually abusing a male minor when Soens was rector of the St. Ambrose Seminary.

"That is monumental for the diocese to admit that one of their bishops is a credibly accused abuser," said Mike Uhde, an abuse victim who lives in Davenport.

The report on Soens will be sent to the Vatican, where Pope Benedict XVI will decide whether the former bishop of the Sioux City Diocese will be defrocked, said Deacon David Montgomery.

The review board found that Stouvenel sexually abused three boys in the 1970s. Pope Benedict Benedict XVI has ordered Stouvenel to "lead a life of prayer and penance," but did not defrock him, the diocese announced. Stouvenel will continue to live at the diocese headquarters in Davenport, where a monitoring program has been implemented, the diocese announced.

The review board found allegations against the Rev. Martin Diamond were not credible. The board reviewed testimony and medical records from two men who alleged they were molested by Diamond more than 30 years ago, but did not find "clear and convincing evidence," which is the standard that must be met when a priest is dead. Diamond died in 1989.

Hines is dead. Smith was defrocked in 1981, Montgomery said.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests