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Davenport Diocese Faces Another Suit

May 12, 2004 | Quad City Times

Another man has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Davenport and the Rev. James Janssen, alleging sexual abuse by the priest about 44 years ago.

John G. Schildgen seeks damages for accusations that Janssen improperly touched him as a boy in 1960, years after the diocese knew of similar complaints against the priest, according to the lawsuit.

The diocese now faces 15 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of boys by priests 20 to 50 years ago.

The plaintiffs, 10 of whom have been identified only as “John Doe†or “Jack Doe,†claim church leaders failed to take action against the priests even though they were aware of inappropriate sexual contact having taken place. Schildgen’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Scott County District Court, alleges that the diocese knew about Janssen’s sexual misconduct in Newton from 1953 to 1956, his required psychotherapy for his sexual problems and his 1958 confession to having improper sexual contact with a minor.

It also alleges Janssen was suspended from the priesthood from October 1958 to January 1958 for sexual misconduct with a boy, and the diocese received complaints of Janssen improperly touching a 10-year-old boy in December 1959, even after psychotherapy and suspension.

Schildgen declined an interview through his attorney, Craig Levien of Davenport.

Janssen has denied the claims in similar lawsuits against him. The diocese sent out a press release acknowledging receiving the lawsuit.

Diocese attorney Rand Wonio said he hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet, but that he had not previously heard of the December 1959 incident mentioned in the lawsuit. The other incidents were mentioned in a report released by the diocese that detailed abuse complaints against priests in the past 50 years, he said.

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