Iowa Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Iowa unfortunately has only made very minor changes to its statute of limitations laws regarding child sex abuse victims. That said, new legislation has been introduced in 2021 that could help additional child sexual abuse survivors seek justice through the courts. Below you will find Iowa lawsuits news & updates, as well as additional information on Iowa’s statute of limitations laws. These laws are important because they dictate how long a lawyer handling an Iowa sexual assault cases has to file a claim on behalf of a survivor. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of Iowa settlements and jury awards received by sexual abuse and assault survivors.
Iowa Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse & Assault
Iowa is recognized as one of the least victim-friendly states in the country with respect to its statute of limitation laws (SOLs). It has not updated its civil SOL laws since 1990 and has passed no revival window allowing older claims of child sexual abuse to be brought against an abuser.
Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws for Iowa
Iowa is currently one of only six states that has not eliminated the statute of limitations (SOLs) for felony child sex abuse crimes. The current criminal SOL age was raised to 33 for felony sexual abuse of a minor, incest and felony misdemeanor sexual exploitation in 2019. Child USA, who has evaluated every state based on their criminal statute of limitation laws, gave Iowa a Criminal SOL score of 1, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 1 is defined as a criminal SOL for survivors under age 40.
Civil Statute of Limitations Laws for Iowa
In Iowa, a victim of child sex abuse only has one year after turning 18 to file a civil claim against his/her abuser. However, Iowa does have a 4-year discovery rule, which delays the start of the statute date if an injury can be linked to the abuse. As an example, if a 45 year old man was recently diagnosed with PTSD, and that diagnosis is related to being sexually abused as a child, he may still be able to bring a civil claim against his abuse even though he is older than 19 years of age. In addition, the discovery rule extends to 5 years after the last treatment date if the abuse was by a therapist or counselor. In 2021, legislators introduced a bill that would open a 3-year revival window for specific felonies associated with child sexual abuse.
Child USA, who has also evaluated every state based on their civil statute of limitation laws, gave Iowa a Civil SOL Age Cap score of 1, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 1 is defined as a civil SOL age cap of 25 years old or younger for survivors.
If you or someone you love was sexually abused or assaulted in Iowa, contact us now. Due to Iowa’s discovery rule, those sexually abused as a minor may still have a claim against their abuser, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Even if the abuser is deceased, you may still have a claim against the organization responsible.
Go to our main sexual abuse page to learn more about the process of filing a priest sexual abuse claim.
Iowa Sexual Abuse Settlements & Jury Awards
The Diocese of Davenport and Dubuque Iowa have settled multiple claims of sexual abuse for amounts totaling nearly $60 million for claims of sexual abuse dating as far back as the 1930s.
October 2004 – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport agreed to settle 37 claims of sexual abuse which occurred during the 1950s and 1960s for $9,000,000. The names of 5 of the 11 priests named by the victims were released: Francis E. Bass, William F. Wiebler, Theordore Anthony Geerts, Drake R. Shafer and Rev. James Janssen.
May 2005 – A jury awarded damages in the amount of $1,890,000 to the nephew of Rev. James Janssen admitted to sexually abusing his nephew in 1950s but later recanted on the witness stand. Janssen was removed from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2004.
February 2006 – The Archdiocese of Dubuque agreed to pay $5,000,000 to 20 victims that were molested by clergy in northeast Iowa dating back 50 years. In addition to the settlement funds, the archdiocese also agreed to pay for therapy for victims and their spouses. The names and assignments of those priests credibly accused of sexual abusing children was also released. The names are below:
- Albert Carman
- William Goltz
- Patrick McElliot
- Julius Olinger
- John Peters
- Robert Reiss
- William Roach
- John Schmitz
- William Schwartz
September 2006 – A jury awarded a victim $1,500,000 from the Diocese of Davenport asserting claims of sexual abuse by Monsignor Thomas J. Feeney. The victim’s case further argued that the Dioceses was negligent in supervising Feeney, that they knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Thomas Feeney died in 1981. As a result of this jury award the Davenport Diocese filed for bankruptcy one month later.
December 2007 – After the Davenport Dioceses filed for bankruptcy in October of 2006, a settlement reached in November of 2007 with 156 victims, for $37,000,000 cleared the Dioceses to emerge from bankruptcy. The reports of sexual abuse by priests within the Davenport Dioceses spans back to the last 1930s.
April 2008 – The Archdiocese of Dubuque agreed to settle claims brought by 18 victims of sexual abuse for $4,700,000 and pay for therapy sessions for each victim. The settlement averages ~$260k per victim however the actual amount received by each victim will vary depending on the circumstances of the abuse. The claims were against 9 priests, all listed below:
- Albert Carman
- Timothy DeVenney
- William Goltz
- John Reed
- Robert Reiss
- Robert Saunders
- Allen Schmitt
- Robert Swift
- Louis Wendling
*The settlements listed above are offered for educational purposes only and do not guarantee any future outcome or settlement. Each legal situation is different, and past performance does not guarantee future results. We do not maintain that is a full list of all settlements in the state of Iowa but merely a grouping of those we choose to share on our website. Please contact us if you would like additional settlements included or if you notice any inaccuracies on our site. We strive to provide our viewers the most up to date and accurate information as possible.
Click to view our larger list of accused priests. Here you can search by accused clergy first and last name, Parish/Diocese, city and state, and even by the years of their assignments.
Iowa Sexual Abuse Lawsuits: News & Updates
The Diocese of Des Moines suspended Father Robert Grant, better known as ‘Father Bud’, after allegations of sexual misconduct were made by a former student at St. Alberts High School. Click the headline to read more…