A judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by a man who says he was abused by a Catholic priest at Iowa City Regina High School in the 1960s. Michael Gould sued the school, the Davenport Catholic Diocese and retired Sioux City Bishop Lawrence Soens, charging that Soens sexually abused him when Gould was a student at Regina and the priest was the school’s principal.
Gould’s attorney, Craig Levien of Davenport, says his client may choose to appeal the district court judge’s decision. “We are continuing to review this ruling with not only Mike Gould but the other victims of Bishop Soens that we represent,” Levien says. “We’re disappointed with the judge’s ruling.” A district court judge ruled today (Tuesday) that under Iowa law, Gould had up to five years after the abuse occurred to file a lawsuit.
Gould graduated from Regina in 1967. Levien says 16 former Regina students swore under oath in court documents saying they had been sexually abused by the same principal/priest. “Certainly this adverse ruling does not state that these men were not abused and were not injured by the abuse, just that a legal argument has been made saying the claims should have been brought earlier,” Levien says.
“I applaud my clients for their courage in bringing claims of childhood sex abuse. It helps protect children today. It helps reveal what happened in the past so these kinds of situations can be avoided and the children in our schools today will be safer,” Levien says. “It takes great courage to try and overcome the legal hurdles that childhood sex abuse victims face.”
On Monday, Regina High School officials held a news conference to say that if they lost the lawsuit, the school would file for bankruptcy. Two other cases against the school are pending.