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Five More Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Diocese

Apr 21, 2004 | Sioux City Journal

Five more lawsuits have been filed against a Roman Catholic priest and the Diocese of Sioux City for alleged sexual abuse that occurred when the five were children.

Mary Ankenbrand, Dirk Jablonski, Mike Jablonski, Jan McHale and Daniel Nash, ages and addresses not listed, allege in lawsuits filed Monday in Woodbury County District Court that the Rev. George McFadden "committed offensive and inappropriate sexual contact" with them.

Nash alleged that the contact occurred in 1969 or '70 while McFadden was the pastor at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Jefferson. The other four who filed suits all said the alleged abuse occurred in the early to mid 1960s at Sioux City's St. Francis of Assisi parish, which is now closed.

All five people were under age 12 when the alleged abuse occurred, the lawsuits said.

The diocese would not comment on the pending litigation, a statement released by Jim Wharton, the diocese's director of communications, said.

"The Diocese of Sioux City continues to work with those who may have been victims of clergy abuse. Our efforts will be guided by compassion and sensitivity to facilitate healing," the diocese said in its statement.

The five all said in the lawsuits that as a result of the alleged abuse, they now suffer from anxiety attacks, sleeping difficulty, nightmares, loss of self-esteem, loss of trust and withdrawal from others.

McFadden has been accused of sexually abusing boys and girls at other parishes in the diocese. The suits allege that the diocese knew of the allegations but covered up McFadden's actions. The five are seeking damages for past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and legal costs.

Four similar lawsuits against McFadden and the diocese are pending and are scheduled for trial early next year in Sioux City.

McFadden is retired and living with relatives out of state. He has been suspended of his priestly faculties, meaning he cannot say Mass, wear priestly garments or perform other functions of a priest.

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