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DBQ Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Claims

DUBUQUE, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Leaders of the Archdiocese of Dubuque say they have reached a settlement agreement with more than two dozen people claiming sexual abuse by priests more than 35 years ago.
   26 people claim they were abused by priests in the 1950's and 1960's in Dubuque. Those accused of sexually abusing minors are Rev. John T. Reed (died in 1996), Joseph Patnode (died in 1977), Patrick McElliott (died in 1987), William Schwartz (removed from priesthood in 2005), Louis Wunder (died in 1990), Louis Wendling (died in 1969), Peter Graff (died in 1976), Robert Reiss (removed from priesthood in 1997 & died in 2005), Allen Schmitt (removed from ministry in 2002), and Robert Swift (died in 1980).
   The Archdiocese has agreed to pay $5.2 million dollars to the law firm representing the plaintiffs.
   In a statement Wednesday Morning, the Archdiocese outlined a number of measures it's taking to identify victims of sexual abuse. 

1.      The Archdiocese will continue to publish periodic notices in the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Witness, and in several secular papers inviting persons who as minors were sexually abused by church personnel to come forward and encouraging them to contact law enforcement personnel.  Throughout the Archdiocese there are about three thousand icons (sacred depictions) of St. Raphael the Archangel with information on how to reach the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinators.

2.      The Archdiocese will allow victims whose claims were found credible the opportunity to speak at their home parish or in the parish where they were abused, if they wish to do so.  This will take place following a Sunday Mass. 

3.      The Archbishop continued the long-standing practices of writing to victims and of visiting privately with victims who requested such a meeting.

4.      The Archdiocese offered to pay for counseling and therapy for victims for up to twelve sessions. 

Archbishop Michael Jackels and Archbishop Emeritus Jerome Hanus apologized to the victims and their families.  "Priests who abused are a disgrace to the vocation and a scandal to the faithful."  Read the Archdiocese's statement.

 
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