Accused priests' names disclosed

Recent abuse claims identify two deceased members of the clergy who had ministered in the Davenport Diocese.

Des Moines Register/July 26, 2005
By Shirley Ragsdale

The names of two deceased priests that the Davenport Catholic Diocese refused to disclose have been made public by men who recently submitted claims of child sexual abuse against the diocese.

The Rev. Herman Bongers, a diocesan priest, and the Rev. Raymond C. Kalter, a priest of the Redemptorist order, may be among the 25 priests the Davenport Diocese has reported as having credible reports of abuse against them, according to the claimants' attorney.

The Davenport Diocese has been forthcoming about the number of abuse allegations it has received and has released the names of living priests with credible allegations of abuse against them. However, it has been Bishop William Franklin's policy not to name deceased priests because the men cannot defend themselves against the charges and because diocesan officials who could confirm or deny the reports are also dead.

The disclosure came from Craig Levien, a Davenport attorney who in October negotiated a $9 million settlement for 37 clients against the Davenport Diocese. Levien last week submitted six new claims of sexual abuse by clergy to the diocese for mediation. They include allegations from

"I thought it was important for people to know the names of these priests," Levien said. "They should also know that men are still coming forward and that we're pursuing mediation."

Rand Wonio, attorney for the diocese, said mediation is in the early fact-finding stages. "We're ordering the claimants' medical records, and once we have and review those, we will move to the investigative process," he said.

This article includes information from the Associated Press.

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