Former Dubuque priest accused of 1985 sexual abuse - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Dubuque priest accused of 1985 sexual abuse

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - It happened nearly 30 years ago, but somebody recently came forward to accuse former Dubuque priest Father Leo Riley of sexual abuse. 

Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackals said in a letter to his church that the complaint was made in December, and forwarded to him in February.

Riley transferred to the Diocese in Venice, Florida in 2002 to be closer to his family. The Venice Diocese said he's been put on administrative leave, and say that he vehemently denies the accusation.

The criminal statute of limitations in Iowa has lapsed on this case, so no criminal charges can be brought against Riley if he's found guilty. 

So what's the point of waiting so long to come forward?

Steve Theisen, an advocate who was also abused as a child, said there are a number of reasons.

"It's for our self healing, it's to protect children, it's to help other children and adults that come forward to get the help they need and to expose predators so they get the help they need," Theisen said.

The diocese in Dubuque is still investigating. But they have determined that Riley and his accuser were at the Resurrection Parish in Dubuque at the same time.

They also said Riley could face certain penal sanctions if found guilty. Those depend on the findings of the investigation.

Anyone with information about alleged instances of sexual abuse is asked to contact the Archdiocese of Dubuque's Office for the Protection of Children and Young People at 563-556-2580 prior to March 30.
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