By Gregg Hennigan
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport says it is in compliance with all of the nonmonetary terms of its bankruptcy settlement, but an attorney for clergy abuse victims wants the diocese to do more.
U.S. bankruptcy Judge Lee Jackwig, in approving the diocese’s $37 million settlement last year, required the diocese to file at least three annual reports on its progress in implementing 17 nonmonetary terms. The diocese this month filed the first report.
The terms include the release of the names of all perpetrators of sexual abuse, an apology from Bishop Martin Amos to the victims, and other acts of reconciliation. The diocese said it has finished each one except Amos must still hold atonement services at seven of the 54 parishes where abuse occurred. He has another year to complete those, but he will visit the remaining parishes this month, according to the report.
“We believe that we have complied with the court’s requirements in fact and in spirit,” diocese attorney Richard Davidson said.
Craig Levien, a Davenport attorney who represents about half of the more than 150 abuse victims who filed claims in the bankruptcy case, said he saw the agreement as the minimum the diocese should do and wants it to provide more information.
That includes the current whereabouts of the living clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse and what the diocese is doing to supervise them. The diocese has released the names of 31 individuals, both living and dead, and has listed their past assignments.
Levien said he plans to file a motion asking Jackwig to hold a hearing on the diocese’s compliance and require that Amos is there to answer questions.
“I think the report is filled with a lot of paper but has really very little substance,” he said.
Davidson said that he would check with the diocese on releasing the locations of confirmed abusers and that the bishop would be at any hearing the judge orders. But, he said, the diocese has met the terms of the settlement.
“We didn’t agree to do more than that,” he said. “That was the agreement and we have followed it.”
In a statement, Amos said, “The report is comprehensive, detailed and shows full compliance by the diocese.”
In related news, one of the nonmonetary provisions required the diocese to submit reports to the Vatican about former Iowa City Regina principal and retired Sioux City Bishop Lawrence Soens, which victims’ advocates said they hoped would result in Soens being forced to leave the priesthood. More than 30 men have accused Soens of abusing them when they were minors, with most of the allegations dating to when Soens was principal of Regina in the 1950s and 1960s.
Diocese spokesman David Montgomery said Tuesday that the diocese has not heard anything from the Vatican about those reports.
Below is a portion of the report.