A defrocked Catholic priest who served parishes in eastern Iowa is being charged with perjury.
Ex-priest James Janssen has been held in jail on a contempt of court charge for trying to hide assets. In 2005, Janssen’s adult nephew went to court to publicly accuse his uncle of repeated sex abuse when he was a child. The nephew won a civil lawsuit, but the ex-priest has been fighting efforts to pay the damages ordered by the court. Now that the former priest’s sentence for contempt of court is winding down, the Scott County Attorney is charging him with perjury.
An affidavit filed in district court alleges Janssen has repeatedly tried to hide his assets and has since admitted he tried to transfer more than $700,000 to his sister and tried to give another $80,000 as gifts to friends and family — but not to the nephew who he’d abused.
According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, this is the first time a priest accused of child sex crimes has been accused of perjury, too, and the group is praising the Scott County Attorney for his action.
Janssen was a priest in the Clinton and Davenport areas. He also served parishes in Burlington, Fort Madison and Newton — and served as a boy scout chaplain. Janssen was ordained as a priest in 1948 and defrocked by the pope in 2004.