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This profile was last updated on 2/15/07  and contains information from public web pages.

Fr. James M. Janssen

Wrong Fr. James M. Janssen?
 
Background

Employment History

  • Assistant
    St. Joseph Church
  • Pastor
    St. Joseph Church
  • Associate Pastor
    Sacred Heart Catholic Church
  • Priest

Education

  • masters degree
    Loyola University
71 Total References
Web References
Bishop Accountability
www.bishop-accountability.org, 15 Feb 2007 [cached]
They are: James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler and Richard Poster.
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They are: James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler and Richard Poster.
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Indeed, reports of complaints (such as those by by a survivor in 1974 regarding Bass and by Bobbi R. Martin in 1983 regarding Janssen ) seem to be missing from diocesan files, although we cannot be certain that these complaints are truly absent until the files are made public, as Judge C.H. Pelton has ordered.
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Her story about discovering the secret archive containing documents on Janssen is difficult to reconcile with the law of the church, but it is consistent with a diocesan penchant for secrecy. Vicar General Morrissey lied under oath , Chancellor Dingman swore to keep Janssen's abuse secret, and Morrissey remarked to Bishop O'Keefe (after receiving a victim's complaint): "This memo should be sealed and put in Father Bass's file.
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After a 1996 allegation, Morrissey wrote to Janssen, "Both you and the Church are fortunate that this is not being pursued in a more public forum.
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The secret archive contained documents from the 1950s and very early 1960s, but nothing on Janssen after that.
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But O'Keefe filed compromising documents about Geerts in the 1990s, so why not about Janssen in the late 1960s and 1970s?
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During this time, Janssen was rehabilitated at the Abbey of Our Lady of New Melleray in Dubuque and began to hold lengthy appointments at parishes, where he allegedly abused many boys. In the 1960s, when complaints vanish from the files, Janssen and Bass are alleged to have abused boys together and with other priests.
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• Learned that Janssen and Bass were both connected to a Janssen victim (10/1/58);
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The Review Board recommendations concerning Fr. James Janssen, Fr. William Wiebler, Fr. Francis Bass, Fr. Frank Martinez and Fr. Richard Poster are discussed below.
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On October 2, 2004, the recently defrocked Janssen attended a training session for foster and adoptive parents held by the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, of which Janssen was a member. Franklin had issued precepts on both Wiebler and Janssen, but to no purpose.
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James Janssen
Bishop Franklin neglects to mention the two warnings about Janssen received in 1948 from the rector and the director of students at Kenrick Seminary.
The case of James Janssen included an investigation of records dating back over 50 years. The procedure for dealing with sexual abuse allegations against priests has dramatically changed over the years in response to the increased level of awareness of the harm caused by the misconduct. In the 1950s and 1960s, sexual misconduct was perceived as a spiritual matter, a sin to be confessed with a penance to be performed. This is a demonstrably false description of perceptions at the time. In a 1961 letter , then-Chancellor Dingman writes to Bishop Hayes that a mother "might go to the Police and have action taken against Father Janssen.
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Regrettably, this procedure was followed in the 1950s and 1960s with Fr. Janssen. This is a false statement. Twice a "mental health professional" recommended to Bishop Hayes that Janssen have assigned to him a spiritual director.
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Diocesan records show that, in November 1956, Fr. Janssen was suspended by Bishop Ralph Hayes and placed on indefinite leave from his appointment as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart in Newton as a result of apparent sexual misconduct.
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Instead Bishop Hayes assigned Fr. Janssen [alone and unsupervised] as a substitute pastor at St. Michael Church, Holbrook, effective June 6, 1958.
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When the psychologist wrote Hayes again in August 1958 to ask whether Janssen had been assigned a spiritual director, Hayes replied, "I haven't assigned any particular priest as his spiritual director.
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In September 1958, Bishop Hayes received a report from the pastor at a church near Loyola University that Fr. Janssen had been involved in sexual misconduct.
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Hayes also received evidence from Henehan: sexually explicit letters { 1} { 2} between Janssen and his victim.
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Janssen's letter to his victim mentioned Rev. Francis E. Bass. Bishop Hayes again suspended Fr. Janssen, who went to the Abbey of Our Lady of New Melleray.
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Rev. Dom Philip O'Connor, O.C.S.O. reported favorably to an inquiry by Bishop Hayes as to whether Fr. Janssen had made sufficient progress to warrant recalling him to the Diocese.
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Diocesan records do not include specific reports of sexual misconduct at St. Mary Church, but there are complaints from parents of inappropriate behavior by Fr. Janssen with boys. This statement is misleading. In fact, particularly given Janssen's prior history, the evidence of sexual misconduct at St. Mary's is extensive and clear: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Fr. Janssen was assigned as assistant at St. Joseph Church, Ft. Madison, from 1961 to 1967 and as pastor at St. Joseph Church, Browns (Sugar Creek), from 1967 to 1979. After a brief tenure as co-pastor at St. Mary Church Davenport, Fr. Janssen was assigned as pastor of SS. Philip & James Church, Grand Mound, from 1980-1990. This is incorrect. As stated elsewhere in the Franklin report, Janssen was co-pastor for a year (10/11/79-10/21/80) not at St. Mary's but at St. Anthony's in Davenport (where the other and senior co-pastor was Rev. Msgr.
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From 1961 until 1988, Diocesan records show that no allegations of sexual abuse were made against Fr. Janssen.
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Philip and James, who explained in detail that Janssen was showing pornographic movies to boys at the rectory. See Martin's affidavit. After allegations were made in 1988, an investigation by the Diocese uncovered credible allegations of sexual misconduct by Fr. Janssen while he was at Ft. Madison, Sugar Creek and Grand Mound.
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After additional allegations of past sexual abuse were made, Fr. Janssen was ordered by me on April 1, 1996 to cease any public activity of a Church nature, including assistance he was providing at a hospital. All active priests in the Diocese were informed that Fr. Janssen was not available for any duties. Vicar General Morrissey conveyed the April 1, 1996 order to Janssen. Then a February 5, 1997 confidential letter from Franklin to Janssen listed priestly activities that were still permitted, including participation in priest gatherings, celebration of funeral Masses for priests and relatives, and special occasion requests, to be cleared through Rev. Drake R. Shafer with Bishop Franklin.
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On August 30, 2000, I issued a Precept, the strongest canonical action possible at that time, which bound Fr. Janssen with specific obligations: 1) To refrain from all contact with minors (under age 18); 2) To cease work in places of employment where contact with minors is likely to occur; 3) To further avoid all places and situations that, from past experience, have been occasions of serious temptation in the areas of sexual morality. Franklin issued this precept after an August 4, 2000 article appeared in the Quad-City Times, reporting that Janssen was lifeguarding and teaching at the pools in the Davenport Outing Club and the Scott County Family Y. (At this time, Janssen was living at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport with retired Davenport Bishop O'Keefe, Vicar General Morrissey, Chancellor Leo Feeney, Vice Chancellor Parizek, and other diocesan officials, as well as accused priest Frank Martinez.)
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From the perspective of today, it was clearly a mistake for Fr. Janssen to have been reassigned to any public ministry after his 1956 suspension. The Diocese of Davenport apologizes for these mistakes. I have accepted the recommendation of the Review Board that I request the Vatican to laicize Fr. James Janssen.
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Bishop Franklin does not mention here that that on October 1, 1958, Bishop Hayes acknowledged having been forwarded an obscene letter from Janssen to a victim , in which Janssen referred familiarly to Bass's new car and a drive up to see the victim again.
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James M. Janssen, 81, of Davenport; ordained March 19, 1948 [see also our alternative service record for Janssen]
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Janssen was appointed to St. Patrick's on 1/22/59.
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Philip and James
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Request for laicization of Janssen sent to Vatican, after a 3-month delay.
7/28/04 Vatican laicizes Janssen.
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Other residents were Vicar General Morrissey, Chancellor Leo Feeney, and Janssen.
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* In the Franklin report, assignments are only provided for the five priests whose laicization has been requested: Bass, Janssen, Martinez, Poster, and Wiebler.
Quad-City Times Newspaper Online - the Quad-Cities Home Page
www.qctimes.com [cached]
They are: James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler and Richard Poster.
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They are: James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler and Richard Poster.
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The Review Board recommendations concerning Fr. James Janssen, Fr. William Wiebler, Fr. Francis Bass, Fr. Frank Martinez and Fr. Richard Poster are discussed below. .
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James Janssen .
The case of James Janssen included an investigation of records dating back over 50 years.
...
Diocesan records show that, in November 1956, Fr. Janssen was suspended by Bishop Ralph Hayes and placed on indefinite leave from his appointment as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart in Newton as a result of apparent sexual misconduct.
...
In August 1957, a Loyola University doctor wrote to Bishop Hayes and advised him that Fr. Janssen "can become a very understanding and acceptable pastor...not likely to fall into past errors."Bishop Hayes assigned Fr. Janssen as a substitute pastor at St. Michael Church, Holbrook, effective June 6, 1958.In September 1958, Bishop Hayes received a report from the pastor at a church near Loyola University that Fr. Janssen had been involved in sexual misconduct.Bishop Hayes again suspended Fr. Janssen, who went to the Abbey of Our Lady of New Melleray.In January 1959, the Abbot reported favorably to an inquiry by Bishop Hayes as to whether Fr. Janssen had made sufficient progress to warrant recalling him to the Diocese.Bishop Hayes then appointed Fr. Janssen temporary administrator of St. Patrick Church, Delmar, and in June 1959, as assistant at St. Mary Church, Davenport. .
Diocesan records do not include specific reports of sexual misconduct at St. Mary Church, but there are complaints from parents of inappropriate behavior by Fr. Janssen with boys.Fr. Janssen was assigned as assistant at St. Joseph Church, Ft. Madison, from 1961 to 1967 and as pastor at St. Joseph Church, Browns (Sugar Creek), from 1967 to 1979.After a brief tenure as co-pastor at St. Mary Church Davenport, Fr. Janssen was assigned as pastor of SS.Philip & James Church, Grand Mound, from 1980-1990. .
From 1961 until 1988, Diocesan records show that no allegations of sexual abuse were made against Fr. Janssen.After allegations were made in 1988, an investigation by the Diocese uncovered credible allegations of sexual misconduct by Fr. Janssen while he was at Ft. Madison, Sugar Creek and Grand Mound.He was placed on indefinite leave of absence by Bishop Gerald O'Keefe on August 15, 1990 and was retired from active ministry effective November 5, 1991. .
After additional allegations of past sexual abuse were made, Fr. Janssen was ordered by me on April 1, 1996 to cease any public activity of a Church nature, including assistance he was providing at a hospital. .
All active priests in the Diocese were informed that Fr. Janssen was not available for any duties. .
On August 30, 2000, I issued a Precept, the strongest canonical action possible at that time, which bound Fr. Janssen with specific obligations: 1) To refrain from all contact with minors (under age 18); 2) To cease work in places of employment where contact with minors is likely to occur; 3) To further avoid all places and situations that, from past experience, have been occasions of serious temptation in the areas of sexual morality. .
From the perspective of today, it was clearly a mistake for Fr. Janssen to have been reassigned to any public ministry after his 1956 suspension.
...
James M. Janssen, 81, of Davenport; ordained March 19, 1948 .
Daily Gate City: News Column
www.dailygate.com, 27 Feb 2004 [cached]
The priests the diocese wants defrocked are James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler and Richard Poster.
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Janssen, Bass, Martinez and Wiebler are accused of sexual abuse dating as far back as 1956.
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Janssen was an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newton when he was placed on indefinite leave in 1956 as a result of apparent sexual misconduct.The next year, he returned to parish work after a doctor at Loyola University told then-Bishop Ralph Hayes that Janssen was "not likely to fall into past errors."
In the following decades, Janssen was reassigned to churches in Davenport, Clinton, Fort Madison, Grand Mound and other communities.Sexual misconduct complaints followed him from one parish to another.
One of several recent lawsuits filed against the diocese claims that Janssen took children to an adult movie theater in Clinton.It claims Janssen also took children on an out-of-state trip and encouraged them to shoplift.
Janssen retired in 1991.
The Men's Center - A Place for Healing, Mindfulness, and Possibilities : Local Agency Helps Male Abuse Victims
www.themenscenter.net, 4 May 2005 [cached]
The Men's Center in Davenport helps men who have been sexually abused and says this week's testimony in the trial of former priest James Janssen has likely been very difficult for the victims.
Iowa City Press-Citizen: News
www.presscitizen.com, 26 Feb 2004 [cached]
Besides Poster, the priests the diocese wants defrocked are James Janssen, Francis Bass, Frank Martinez, William Wiebler.
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Janssen, Bass, Martinez and Wiebler are accused of sexual abuse dating as far back as 1956.
...
Janssen was an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newton when he was placed on indefinite leave in 1956 as a result of apparent sexual misconduct.The next year, he returned to parish work after a doctor at Loyola University told then-Bishop Ralph Hayes that Janssen was "not likely to fall into past errors."
In the following decades, Janssen was reassigned to churches in Davenport, Clinton, Fort Madison, Grand Mound and other communities.Sexual misconduct complaints followed him from one parish to another.
One of several recent lawsuits filed against the diocese claims that Janssen took children to an adult movie theater in Clinton.It claims Janssen also took children on an out-of-state trip and encouraged them to shoplift.
Janssen retired in 1991.
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