New Lawsuit Filed Against Known Abuser from Iowa, SNAP Applauds Victim for Coming Forward
For Immediate Release: December 7, 2021
A new lawsuit alleging abuse in the Archdiocese of Dubuque has been filed (Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Action #LACV047934). We applaud this brave survivor for coming forward. We hope that this news will encourage others who may have been abused in Dubuque or anywhere else in Iowa to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.
This civil action details a harrowing and sad story in which the victim was abused by multiple priests in Iowa, including one of the state’s most prolific perpetrators, Fr. William Wiebler. Due to that abuse, this survivor has already gone through the legal process with the Catholic Church once and his allegations against Fr. Wiebler were found to be credible. We have no doubt that the same determination will be made in this latest lawsuit, which accuses Fr. William Goltz of child sexual abuse. Fr. Goltz is already known to have assaulted at least three others and has a disturbing assignment history of his own.
Years before Fr. Goltz was first sued, Catholic officials in Dubuque received allegations that Fr. Goltz was abusing children. Those allegations were serious enough to cause Archbishop Leo Binz to hold a secret canonical trial in the mid-1950s, after which Fr. Goltz was removed from his post and sent to therapy in 1955. Despite this secret church trial, none of Fr. Goltz’s assaults were ever reported to the police and, even worse, Church leaders inexplicably returned Fr. Goltz to active ministry in 1964. The clergyman was allowed to live at various parishes in Iowa until his retirement in 1991. We can only wonder how many other children were groomed or victimized by Fr. Goltz during this period of time.
At some point during his career in Iowa, Fr. Goltz became connected with Fr. Wiebler and the lawsuit alleges that the two men worked together to abuse and intimidate the plaintiff. While assignment histories do not make clear how these two perpetrators became acquainted, it is difficult to believe that this victim was the only one who Fr. Goltz and Fr. Wiebler worked together to assault. We hope that this civil action will encourage others who were hurt by these two men to realize that they are not alone and to come forward with their own stories.
Our hearts break for the victim in this case who was abused by priests from multiple dioceses in his home state. To us, this lawsuit is a clear example of how the Catholic Church’s desire to protect itself only ended up tarnishing its reputation and, more importantly, allowing more children to be hurt. We applaud this survivor for coming forward and we hope his lawsuit is ultimately successful.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Paul Koeniguer, SNAP Iowa (515-865-9673, [email protected]), John Chambers, SNAP Iowa (515-277-8436, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)