Representatives of the "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests," or "SNAP," were in Sioux City Thursday to take the Catholic Diocese there to task for not reacting more quickly to resolve the sexual abuse allegations against the former Sioux City Diocese Bishop Lawrence Soens.
SNAP spokeswoman, Jackie Clark of Fort Dodge, says they’re asking that the Pope defrock Soens. She says that’s the first step, and they have also asked the Sioux City Diocese to apologize to Catholics and the people of Iowa "for allowing this dangerous predator to live in their communities with no warning."
Clark says they want answers on why it took so long to identify Soens as an abuser. "They should explain how this could happen, and how they will ensure that it will not happen again," Clark says. Christie Arld, communications director for the Sioux City Catholic Diocese says the matter is best handled by the Diocese in Davenport.
Arld says the Sioux City Diocese is hesitant to make any statements about Soens as all of the allegations were made by the Davenport Diocese, and that diocese and the Vatican is handling the issue. "Bishop Nicholas and the Diocese of Sioux City have nothing to do with this process," Arld says.
The Davenport Dioscese said this week a panel determined there was credible evidence that Soens, who is retired, was 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. The panel also says Soens sexually abused a boy at the St. Ambrose Seminary in Davenport.