Report: Iowa Church Concealed Priest’s Abuse of 50 Boys

The Diocese of Sioux City admitted Wednesday that it knowingly concealed a priest’s admission to sexually abusing 50 Iowa boys for over thirty years, according to the Associated Press. In a letter obtained by the AP, Rev. Jerome Coyle, 85, told the Sioux City bishop in 1986 that he had a “history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys” and admitted to touching 50 boys over a 20-year period. But instead of informing the police, the diocese stripped Coyle of his parish assignments in the 1980s without explanation. He was never defrocked or publicly identified as an admitted pedophile. “The diocese admits it could have been handled better,” diocese spokeswoman Susan O’Brien said, adding that policies in place at the time did not call for notifying police or the public. The AP learned that after an abrupt six month leave of absence, church officials transferred Coyle to a treatment center in New Mexico, the Servants of the Paraclete, a known destination for accused priests nationwide. In addition to concealing Coyle’s admission, the AP said the diocese recently helped him move into a retirement home across the street from a Catholic school.