New sex abuse suit filed against diocese

Sioux City Journal/September 23, 2006

A former Sioux City resident has filed the 30th sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Sioux City.

Edward Nichols, who now lives in California, had previously been a party to a suit filed in June along with Patrick Nichols. But a judge's ruling in August ordered the two men to file separately.

Edward Nichols filed his suit Tuesday in Woodbury County District Court. He said in the suit that he was sexually abused by former priest George McFadden in the 1960s while McFadden was an assistant pastor or pastor at Immaculate Conception Church and the now-closed St. Francis of Assisi parish, both in Sioux City. Nichols was under age 14 at the time.

Nichols charges the diocese with negligence in its hiring and supervision of McFadden. Nichols said the diocese knew McFadden was a sexual predator and covered up his actions by transferring him from parish to parish each time it learned of new allegations against him.

Like others who have filed suit, Nichols said he has suffered mental anguish, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life caused by loss of self-esteem and trust in others. Nichols is seeking an unnamed amount of damages to pay for counseling and mental anguish. He also is seeking punitive damages.

The diocese has reported that it has settled 30 sexual abuse claims since 2004 for more than $2.6 million. Not all of those claims were lawsuits.

McFadden is retired and lives in Indiana. He has been suspended of his priestly duties, and the Vatican has prohibited him from presenting himself as a priest.

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