Review Clears Davenport Priest Accused of Touching

Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport takes a moment after holding atonement services at the St. Patrick Catholic Church in Delmar on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008. The atonement services are taking place in parishes all over Eastern Iowa where clergy members committed sexual abuse. (Amanda LaRae Larkin/The Gazette)

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By Ellen Kurt

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A suspended Catholic priest in Davenport will return to the ministry after a diocese investigation did not substantiate an allegation that he inappropriately touched a minor in 1990.

Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport said Thursday that a monthlong review by a private detective found no wrongdoing by Father Robert Harness, pastor of Holy Family Church. Amos said he wanted to publicize the outcome "in the hope of helping to restore the good character of Father Harness."

Amos suspended Harness last month after someone claimed Harness improperly touched a minor during a game that was played at a high school retreat.

The investigation found the game was played in front of as many as 50 students and 10 adults, and no witnesses or anyone else reported seeing any inappropriate behavior.
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