Former Dubuque Priest Faces Second Allegation of Abuse
(For Immediate Release May 25, 2023)
An accusation of child sexual abuse against a Florida Catholic priest has been recently deemed to carry a "semblance of truth," by the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The cleric, Fr. Leo P. Riley, worked in 16 Iowa parishes following his ordination in 1982. He was transferred to the Diocese of Venice in 2002.
While the current complaint about Fr. Riley was apparently received on May 5th of this year, another accusation was brought to the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 2014. That victim filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese the following year. The Archdiocesan Review Board initially deemed that accusation as “not manifestly false or frivolous.” (Page 5) However, several months later Archbishop Michael O. Jackels announced that his investigation did not find the complaint to be true and Fr. Riley resumed working in a parish in Florida.
We here at SNAP know that false accusations of child sexual abuse are rare. Where there are multiple accusations against the same man, they are even less likely to be untrue.
Fr. Riley's work history can be found here. He had one additional assignment that we have discovered. He was installed as Pastor of San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte in March of 2019, and it appears that he was working in that parish until this second accusation was made.
We hope parishioners, the press and the public – in both Florida and Iowa - will press the Apostolic Administrator in Dubuque, Richard E. Pates, and Bishop Frank Joseph Dewane Venice to disclose everything that they know about Fr. Riley. We would also urge Catholic officials to reach out to parishioners in every church where this clergyman worked and beg anyone who experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse to come forward.
Apostolic Administrator Pates and Bishop Dewane should also remind the faithful to refrain from public expressions of support while this second investigation is in process. (Page 4) Such expressions of support for an accused cleric will discourage anyone victimized by that priest, or by anyone else, from speaking out, sharing what they know, and getting help.
SNAP encourages anyone who may have been hurt by Fr. Riley or anyone else to come forward. Do not suffer alone and in silence! Share what you have suffered with family and friends that you trust, with counselors, or with groups like SNAP. We also recommend that you always report crimes to secular authorities first.
CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)