The Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese has placed a priest on “indefinite administrative leave” over an allegation of sexual abuse. The Diocese released a statement that Bishop Richard Pates has placed Father Howard Fitzgerald on leave after a review committee determined an allegation of sexual abuse against a minor from decades ago is credible.
The statement says Fitzgerald cannot function as a priest during the leave and the matter is being forwarded to the Vatican. Fitzgerald has responsibilities at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola, Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys and at Simpson College. The statement from Pates says the victim has asked to remain anonymous, and no other details of the alleged abuse have been released.
The Des Moines Diocese says Fitzgerald has also served at the following places: St. Albert High School, Council Bluffs; St. Pius X Church, Urbandale; Pastoral Team serving: St. Mary, Panama; St. Mary, Portsmouth; St. Boniface, Westphalia; St. Peter and St. Francis Worship Center, Council Bluffs; Holy Spirit, Creston; and St. Edward, Afton; St. Patrick, Dunlap; and Sacred Heart, Woodbine; St. Michael, Harlan; Ss. John & Paul, Altoona; St. Joseph, Earling; and St. Peter, Defiance; St. Patrick, Dunlap; Holy Family, Mondamin; Sacred Heart, Woodbine; Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Glenwood.