SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Diocese of Sioux City has released a list of 28 priests who have been accused of the sexual abuse of minors while serving in the diocese.
The first credible allegations date from 1948 through 1995. The original list included 29 names, however, one of the priests has appealed to Rome, and therefore his information is being withheld pending resolution.
The review board of the Diocese says 107 victims made allegations against the named priests.
The following list provided by the Diocese of Sioux City includes the individual's names, the number of allegations against them, the dates of abuse, and their current status:
- Elmore Everette Apt (Allegations: 3; Date of Abuse: 1950-70s; Deceased)
- Alver William Behrens (Allegations: 5; Date of Abuse: 1960's; Deceased)
- Richard Wayne Birdsall (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1970's; Deceased)
- Paul Joseph Bruening (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1957; Deceased)
- Jon Francis Cain (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1973; Deceased)
- Jerome Paul Coyle (Allegations: 13; Date of Abuse: 1965-1985; In specialized care facility in Missouri)
- John William Cullen (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1955; Deceased)
- Linus Joseph Eisenbacher (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1970's; Deceased)
- Clarence Edward Farrelly (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1960's; Deceased)
- Louis Henry Greving (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1965-1971; Deceased)
- Victor Everett Kollasch (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1970's; Deceased)
- Bruce Anthony Lefebvre (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1980's; Deceased)
- Jan Lisowski (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1960's; Deceased)
- George Bernard McFadden (Allegations: 39; Date of Abuse: 1960-1985; Resides outside of Iowa)
- Bernard Joseph Montag (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1959-1961; Deceased)
- Thomas Joseph Munn (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1954-1955; Deceased)
- Peter Brendan Murphy (Allegations: 11; Date of Abuse: 1956-1964; Deceased)
- John Patrick Perdue (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1982-1983; Resides in the state of Iowa outside of the Diocese)
- Ronald Joseph Reicks (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1973-1984; Resides outside of the state of Iowa)
- Ralph William Reinhart (Allegations: 6; Date of Abuse: 1950's; Deceased)
- Nicholas John Ruba (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1970-1971; Deceased)
- Laurence Frances Schoeppner (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1948-1949; Deceased)
- Donald Joseph Slaven (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1990's; Deceased)
- Verne Peter Stapenhorst (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1976; Resides outside of the state of Iowa)
- Fergus Stevenson, OFM (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1976; Believed to be deceased)
- Joseph Edward Tolan (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1980-1982; Deceased)
- Donald William Wingert (Allegations: 1; Date of Abuse: 1980-1982; Deceased)
- John Charles Yetmar (Allegations: 2; Date of Abuse: 1968-1974; Resides outside of the state of Iowa)
Of the 28 priests named, 13 have multiple allegations of abuse.
The diocese says they want to usher in a new area of transparency for the church.
Bishop R. Walker Nickless, along with Father Brad Pelzel and Mark Prosser, Review Board Member of the Diocese, addressed the allegations and the process the diocese went through to determine if an allegation was considered credible.
But Bishop Nickless said repeatedly they believe the victims and are deeply sorry.
"Our main focus in releasing this list now was to tell the victims that we truly believe them and that we take their word and want to do what we can to make sure those priests who abused them will be held accountable," says Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City.
All the priests on this list are accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Which, the review board of the Diocese says has a very specific definition.
They say this means sexual conduct by a member of the clergy against a minor.
They say to consider an allegation credible they considered any objective information that was available during its investigation.
"We recognize that reviewing and deciding about whether or not an allegation is credible or not is an imperfect process. Today's list is a beginning and a living document," said Prosser.
Officials say since the Diocese was created in 1902, there have been 515 priests who have served.
SNAP, also known as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is an organization that provides support for victims of abuse.
On Monday afternoon SNAP released this statement:
"It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal, and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward. And often, dioceses will state that they are releasing these lists to assist with survivors in their healing and to help warn the public about these clerics. We are always supportive of those goals and are grateful for this first step towards transparency taken by the Diocese of Sioux City today.
"What ends up being problematic is when lists are released that are incomplete or carefully curated and leave off the names of "extern" priests, nuns, deacons, bishops, or other church staff. Sometimes, names are left off because they do not meet the diocese’s ever-changing and nebulous definition of “credible.” And this point about credibility is the focus given the release from Sioux City today.
"Bishop R. Walker Nickless said that the allegations on his list are all from the years between 1948 and 1995 and that all allegations beyond 1995 were not deemed "credible." We find it hard to believe that every allegation brought forth in the past two and a half decades are false, so we would like Bishop Nickless to expound further on what his definition of credible is, how many allegations have been made since 1995, and who was responsible for determining their credibility? Especially given the diocese's history of concealing allegations (as it did with Fr. Jerome Coyle), it is hard to believe this statement today.
"This is why, while we support church officials releasing these lists on their own, we always prefer independent investigations by law enforcement in order to see full transparency and truth revealed. Only trained law enforcement officials will be able to truly tell us the depth of the problem in a given area, as well as who the abusers were and what actions were taken when their abuse was revealed. To date, 17 states have opened investigations and we are anxious for that 17 to become 50."