The Pope has defrocked an Iowa priest who’s been accused of molesting children. Davenport Diocese spokesman David Montgomery read from the official statement. He says Bishop William Franklin received notification from the Vatican that as of July 28th, Pope John Paul II decreed that James Janssen is dismissed from the clerical state, and the diocese Thursday announced that Janssen is “laicized,” or expelled from the priesthood. “Laicization” is the process by which an ordained priest is officially returned to the status of a layperson. Montgomery says the decree by the Pope does not allow for any appeal or recourse. Janssen retired in 1990, and earlier this year a review board began the process of deciding whether to ask the bishop to request he be removed officially from the priesthood. In the announcement, Bishop Franklin restates his sorrow and apology for all who have been harmed and says he hopes the decision by the pope will facilitate the healing process. Several lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese and Janssen, charging he molested children during his time as a priest. Reports on the ongoing investigations and cases are online at