The Catholic Diocese of Davenport says a retired bishop is among four priests found guilty of sexual abuse by a diocesan review board. The Diocese says retired Bishop Lawrence Soens, who oversaw the Sioux City Diocese from 1983 to 1998 was found guilty of sexually abusing students at Iowa City Regina High School in the 1950’s and 60’s. Soens was the principal of the school at the time.
Soens was also found guilty of sexually abusing a boy at the St. Ambrose Seminary in Davenport. The findings will now be sent to the Pope who will decided if Soens should be defrocked. A spokesperson for the "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" or "SNAP," says it’s the first time a bishop has been found guilty by the church of sexual assault.
Barbara Dorris said in a statement released to the media, "This is a very belated and begrudging admission of horrific wrong doing that for decades was shrewdly concealed by corrupt Catholic officials. We hope now that finally the Iowa church hierarchy will use its considerable resources to seek out and help Soens’ dozens of victims." Dorris says the Davenport bishop deliberately made the announcement now at a time when attention is focused on election news.