Vatican defrocks 2 priests over abuse allegations

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November 17, 2006 07:06
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The Vatican has defrocked two Roman Catholic priests over allegations they sexually abused minors, the Des Moines diocese said. Pope Benedict XVI granted the diocese's requests to dismiss John Ryan and Richard Wagner from the priesthood last month. They haven't been allowed to function as priests since 2003, the diocese said Thursday. Both men served at several parishes in the diocese and taught at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, where Wagner also was principal. Allegations against Ryan involved abuse of adolescent boys, the diocese has said. He was ordained in 1950 and retired in 1988. Ryan lives in Johnston with his brother, the Rev. Gerald Ryan, who was named monsignor in 1993. A man who answered the phone Thursday night at Gerald Ryan's home said John Ryan wasn't available but declined to identify himself or respond to other questions. The allegation against Wagner, who was ordained in 1961, involved a female high school student in the late 1980s, but it did not surface until 1993. The diocese has said it dealt with him under a 1988 policy that allowed priests to return to ministry after treatment and notification of civil authorities. Since 1993, Wagner has lived in a supervised environment at the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. The Associated Press was unable to find contact information for him. Steve Thiesen, director of the Iowa chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said defrocking the men is a good step but doesn't end the diocese's responsibility. "There's an obligation to let people know where these two live and to protect the kids of neighbors," he said. The diocese has 82 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.

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