For immediate release: Tuesday, August 30
Sex Abuse Victim Appeals To Iowa Supreme Court
So Far, Dozens Have Accused Priest of Molesting Them
Group Had Urged Catholic Officials to "Stop Hiding Behind Legal Technicalities"
A New York man who alleges he was sexually molested by an Iowa priest is asking the Iowa State Supreme Court to allow his civil molestation lawsuit against the cleric to proceed.
In a brief legal document filed yesterday in state District Court in Woodbury County, Daniel E. Nash of Ithaca, New York indicates that he wants the court to permit him to continue his lawsuit against Father George McFadden and the Diocese of Sioux City for the childhood sex abuse McFadden inflicted on him.
Last month, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City, McFadden's employer, settled the 22nd lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by one of its priests. All but one of the 26 molestation suits against the diocese name McFadden as a predator.
In June, a nationwide support group for clergy sex abuse victims asked Sioux City Catholic diocesan officials to "stop using legal technicalities" like the statute of limitations to thwart victims "who try to use their constitutional rights to expose dangerous sexually abusive priests in court."
The organization, called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), wrote Sioux City's Diocesan Administrator Msgr. Roger J. Augustine criticizing him and the Diocese for their efforts to get Nash's molestation lawsuit against McFadden dismissed.
Earlier in June, District Judge Duane E. Hoffmeyer ruled against Nash and in favor of the diocese, tossing out Nash's civil claim, citing the statute of limitations.
"We are hopeful that Iowa's highest court will side with victims over predators," said Steve Theisen of Hudson, IA and Iowa SNAP Director. "The long-standing, nationwide trend is toward making it less difficult, not more difficult, for abuse victims to seek justice in the courts. The judge's ruling is surprising and very disappointing for those who were injured in the most hideous way."
"I know Daniel, and my heart aches for him. He has suffered immeasurably, and for church officials to rub salt in his already deep and still fresh wounds like this is unconscionable," said David Clohessy, SNAP's National Director from St. Louis. "We hope that Daniel's courage will cause more men and women who were victimized as children to find the strength to report the crimes and get help. When victims stay silent, nothing changes. When victims speak up, at least there's a chance for justice, truth and prevention."
McFadden is believed to be retired and living in Ft. Wayne Indiana. Nash, now 47, filed his lawsuit in April 2004 in Woodbury County District Court. He is originally from Jefferson, Iowa.
Attorneys Scott Rhinehart of Sioux City (712-258-8706) and Patrick J. Hopkins of Wes Des Moines (515-327-1750) represent Nash.
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is a self-help group of men and women who have been harmed by clergy and religious. Founded in Chicago in 1989, it now has more than 5,000 members in virtually every state, and monthly support group meetings in 54 cities. (survivorsnetwork.org)
For more information:
Steve Theisen of Hudson, IA, SNAP Iowa director 319 231 1663
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Missouri - SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688
Iowa SNAP Director
Hudson, IA 50643
Hurt in Iowa@cs.com
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