A Roman Catholic diocese in Iowa acknowledged last Wednesday that it had concealed a priest’s admission of sexual abuse for decades.
According to The Associate Press, Rev. Jerome Coyle, 85, admitted to sexually abusing around 50 boys within the Sioux City diocese over a 20-year period. Reportedly, Coyle reported his “history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys” to the Sioux City bishop in 1986.
AP reports that the diocese never contacted police or informed the public about Coyle’s admission of abuse.
A spokeswoman for the diocese, Susan O’Brien, told the outlet, “The diocese admits it could have been handled better,” but insists that there were no policies in place that required them to notify the police or the public.
When the abuse was reported, the church stripped Coyle of his parish assignments and quietly sent him to a New Mexico treatment center for a six-month stint.
Coyle reportedly confessed his acts of abuse to Bishop Lawrence Soens who took no further action on the matter. The AP reports that a review board later found that Soens, too had abused students in his compacity as a priest and parochial school principal.
Since the story about Coyle broke, two individuals who are now adults, have come forward with allegations against Coyle. According to the AP, these allegations will be reported by the diocese to police.
Recently, the Sioux City diocese, who has financially supported Coyle for several decades despite accusations, helped Coyle move back to Iowa from New Mexico. Coyle was relocated by the diocese to a retirement home that is positioned across the street from a Catholic school.
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