June 26, 2011


Critic slams archbishop over abuse suit

(WCF Courier) WATERLOO, Iowa — The Hudson-based spokesman for a local clergy sex abuse survivors group has taken Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus to task for his handling 24 years ago of a former Catholic monk, as recounted in a new Missouri lawsuit. Hanus is not named as a defendant in that lawsuit.

In the suit, filed in Nodaway County, Mo., a plaintiff named 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 in Missouri and the suit’s sole defendant, by a Father Bede Parry.

The suit states that the plaintiff’s parents confronted Hanus, then the abbot in charge of Conception Abbey, about the sexual contact. “Hanus told plaintiff’s parents that Fr. Parry had a ‘mental breakdown’ and that he would be treated for this breakdown.” Parry was subsequently sent to a facility in New Mexico for sex offender treatment and did not return to the abbey.

The suit continues, “In fact, Fr. Parry did not have a ‘mental breakdown.’ Instead, Fr. Parry was a known child predator who had sexually abused numerous students before Fr. Parry sexually abused the plaintiff.”

The suit said Parry previously reported to Hanus and other clergy that between 1973 and 1979, while Parry was a monk but prior to his ordination as a priest, “that he had been involved in three inappropriate sexual relationships” and another in 1981 while attending seminary classes in Collegeville, Minn.

At the insistence of Hanus, Parry was “required to receive psychological treatment” as a condition of his completing seminary school, the suit says.

Steve Theisen of Hudson, a former Dubuque police officer who is Iowa director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Hanus “knew that Fr. Parry was abusing children and did not report Parry to the police.”

“The obvious question is ‘Are there other predators Hanus is hiding?'” Theisen asked.

Hanus, Dubuque archbishop since 1995, issued the following statement through Msgr. Thomas Toale, Dubuque archdiocesan vicar general:

“A lawsuit has been filed in Missouri that makes several claims about me while I served as abbot of Conception Abbey,” Hanus said. “I await the opportunity to respond to these claims according to the system of justice in our country.”

The suit says Parry is currently employed at an Episcopal church in Las Vegas.

Under Hanus’ tenure, the Dubuque archdiocese has paid out more than $12.3 million to 47 clergy sex abuse victims over the three settlements from 2006-08, plus counseling. The cases date back to the 1940s; many of the offending priests are now deceased and none are practicing priests. The archdiocese has ordered mandatory sex abuse prevention training for its employees and new reports have dropped off drastically the past three years.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011