April 12, 2013


Bishop to recount handling of 1987 sexual abuse case

WATERLOO — Retired Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus said Thursday he looks forward to giving a deposition soon in a 2011 lawsuit regarding his handling of an alleged clergy sex abuse incident 26 years ago by a monk at a Missouri abbey.

Hanus administered the abbey at time of the alleged abuse, and he plans to retire there.

The national Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests issued a press release Wednesday, two days after Hanus announced his resignation in Dubuque, regarding the pending deposition, critical of his handling of the matter.

Minneapolis attorney Jeff Anderson, representing the plaintiff in the Nodaway County, Mo. suit, confirmed Hanus is scheduled to be deposed this month in the pending case. In the suit, a plaintiff identified as “John Doe 181” said he was sexually molested as a minor while at a choir camp in 1987 at Conception Abbey Inc., a Benedictine abbey, by a Father Bede Parry, who also is scheduled for deposition.

At the insistence of Hanus, Parry was “required to receive psychological treatment” as a condition of his completing seminary school, the suit says. He was sent to a facility in New Mexico for sex offender treatment and did not return to the abbey. He subsequently became a Episcopal priest and resigned from a parish in the state of Nevada after the 2011 Missouri suit was filed.

In response to an emailed request for comment, Hanus, not named as a defendant in the suit, issued the following statement:

“A lawsuit has been filed in Missouri that makes several claims about a former monk at Conception Abbey where I served as abbot from 1977 to 1987. I await the opportunity to be deposed. I look forward to it.”

The suit says Parry disclosed previous “inappropriate sexual relationships” while attending seminary in Minnesota “and had sexually abused numerous students before Fr. Parry sexually abused the plaintiff.”

SNAP director David Clohessy said, “The consequences from this deposition (of Hanus) could be huge…It’s important that the public find out what Hanus knew about not only Parry, but other child-molesting clerics.”

Under Hanus’ tenure, the Dubuque archdiocese paid out more than $12.3 million to 47 clergy sex abuse victims over the three settlements from 2006-08, plus counseling, in decades-old cases. Many of the offending priests are now deceased. None are practicing priests; some were removed from priestly duties by Hanus and at least one was defrocked by the Vatican. The archdiocese ordered mandatory sex abuse prevention training for its employees, and new reports dropped off drastically in subsequent years.

Hanus, 72, announced his resignation Monday, citing declining health, especially following a February 2012 auto accident in Wright County. Hanus actually tendered his resignation last year. His successor, former Wichita, Kan., Bishop Michael O. Jackels, introduced Monday as Hanus publicly announced his resignation, was recently appointed by new Pope Francis.

Hanus was bishop of St. Cloud, Minn., from 1987 to 1994, and succeed Daniel Kucera as Dubuque archbishop in 1995.

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Bishop to recount handling of 1987 sexual abuse case