Judge: Iowa diocese can shield names of accused priests

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, July 7 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Diocese of Davenport likely will release the names of two non-clergy members suspected of sexually abusing minors decades ago, but will withhold the names of 18 priests whose accusers received financial settlements during its bankruptcy, its attorney says.

A Diocese review board was expected to add the names of a volunteer football coach and a former janitor at a long-closed school to its online list of perpetrators of abuse, attorney Rand Wonio said. But he said a recent ruling allows the diocese to keep secret the names of priests who were the subject of abuse allegations that a review board found to be not credible.

The developments come as the diocese emerges from bankruptcy protections that it sought during the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic church. The diocese, which covers much of eastern Iowa, filed for bankruptcy in 2006, saying it did not have enough money to cover all the legal claims it faced for alleged abuse dating back to the 1940s.

The bankruptcy filing led to a $37 million settlement — funded by the diocese and its insurer — that compensated more than 160 victims and a reorganization in which the diocese took steps to investigate and prevent abuse and better protect minors.

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