Former Sioux City Bishop Accused

KCAU TV News, Iowa/November 6, 2008

A Fort Dodge woman who claims she was sexually abused by a priest is asking for action against Sioux City's former bishop and for victims to come forward.

Lawrence Soens led the Sioux City Diocese for 15 years.

For several years he faced allegations of abuse.

But now the Diocese of Davenport says Soens has been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors while working in that diocese.

Today... A victim of alleged clergy abuse spoke out. Urging anyone who may have been hurt by Soens here in Siouxland to come forward.

Earlier this week. A church panel said there's evidence Soens sexually abused 30 male minors while he was principal at Iowa City's Regina High School in the 50's and 60's.

Soens has also been credibly accused of abusing a minor when we was rector of the St. Ambrose Seminary in eastern Iowa.

Today Janet Clark came to Sioux City and urged church officials to apologize and defrock Bishop Soens.

Clark claims she was sexually abused by a priest... Not by Soens.

Clark is working to get the word out that any possible victims of Soens should come forward.

"Soens was here for 15 years and there's no reason to think he stopped when he moved out here. That's just not how it works. They don't stop until someone stops them. There's no reason to think there aren't plenty more victims out there." Says Clark of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Soens has consistently denied the allegations.

Today a spokeswoman with the Sioux City Diocese responded to Clarks' visit.

"I do hesitate to comment a little bit today due to the fact that no allegations were brought against Bishop Soens while we served in the diocese of Sioux City. All the allegations were made against him when he served as priest in the diocese of davenport and I can tell you the Diocese of Davenport and the Vatican are handling this issue." Adds Kristie Arnt with the Sioux City Diocese.

Lawrensce Soens led the Sioux City Diocese from 1983 to 1998 before retiring.

Janet Clark works with the SNAP organization... Also known as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

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