Dubuque Archdiocese Settles 26 Clergy Sex Abuse Cases
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Archdiocese of Dubuque has agreed to pay $5.2 million to 26 people claiming clergy sex abuse.
The settlement was announced Wednesday.
The Dubuque Archdiocese also settled with 18 victims in 2008 for $4.7 million. The Archdiocese paid nine victims $2.6 million in 2007. 20 victims were part of a $5 million settlement in 2006. The church also settled with 10 victims individually.
As director of The Iowa "Survivor's network of those Abused by Priests", Steve Theisen says no amount of money can fix the damage abusers cause their victims. "A lot of the folks haven't been able to reach their potential because of the abuse," said Theisen.
As a sexual abuse survivor himself, Theisen says what really helps victims recover is therapy. "The nightmares went away. The wrong thinking, some of that is still there. But a lot of the anxiety and depression went away. "
As part of the settlement, The Archdiocese also pays for counseling sessions for each of the victims.
Much of the abuse cited in the latest settlement happened in the 1950's and1960's.
Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels said the Catholic Church has since increased requirements to join the priesthood. "Criminal background checks are now very thorough. They perform psychological evaluations and do Interviews with the family, " said Jackels.
Some question whether the current Catholic church rules prohibiting priests from marrying plays a role in the abuse.
But Jackels say he doesn't believe Catholic priest"s vow of celibacy causes them to abuse children. "Even in the general population a lot of times perpetrators are people who are married or they certainly don't have a commitment to chase celibacy."
What's On KCRG