Woman shares story of alleged abuse by priests

An Iowa woman contemplating a return to the Roman Catholic Church last year agreed to meet with a priest on one condition — he remove his collar. “Roman collars still frighten me,” Kathleen Bowman, 47, told the priest.

She then emerged from four decades of silence, having only ever shared with a therapist her story of alleged abuse as a child by three priests because the memories were making her suicidal.

“I didn’t know I could report,” Bowman told the Quad-City Times, her first time speaking publicly about the alleged abuse. “It was taking everything just to maintain life.”

The Clear Lake, Iowa, woman first told a Mason City parish priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque in August 2011, and he encouraged her to report her story. That brought her before a review board with the Diocese of Davenport, where her three alleged abusers had been clerics around the time she says she was abused.

How the Davenport diocese handled her case was the subject of a judge’s decision last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The diocese recently emerged from bankruptcy after a $37 million settlement covering 150 child sex abuse victims.

U.S. District Judge Lee Jackwig ordered the diocese to add the now-deceased Revs. John Bonn, Michael Broderick and William Dawson to its online list of credibly accused priests, according to a filing late Tuesday.

Bowman petitioned the court last month to require the diocese to put Bonn, Broderick and Dawson on the list. The diocese resisted, saying it had reviewed Bowman’s case and found her accusations not credible, although she rece...


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