Fr. James Janssen: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Fr. James Janssen

Ordained: 1948

  • 1949-1950: St. Paul’s, Burlington, IA (DAV)
  • 1951-1953: St. Irenaeus’, Clinton, IA (DAV)
  • 1954-1956: Sacred Heart Church, Newton, IA (DAV)
  • 1956-1958: Leave of Absence/Suspension – Graduate Studies at Loyola University, Chicago, IL
  • 1957-1959: On Duty Outside Diocese – North American College, Rome, Italy (DAV)
  • 1960: St. Mary’s, Davenport, IA (DAV)
  • 1961-1967: St. Joseph’s, Fort Madison, IA (DAV)
  • 1968-1979: St. Joseph’s, Sugar Creek, IA (DAV)
  • 1980: St. Anthony’s, Davenport, IA (DAV)
  • 1981-1990: Church of St. Philip and James Church, Grand Mound, IA (DAV)
  • 1991: Absent on Leave (DAV)
  • 1992-2004: Retired – St. Vincent Center, Davenport, IA (DAV)
  • 2004: Laicized
  • 2004-2015: Unknown
  • 2015: Died

In 1956, Fr. Janssen was relieved of his appointment as assistant to Fr. McCann at Sacred Heart Church in Newton, Iowa and granted an “indefinite leave of absence” from the Diocese of Davenport. Fr. Janssen’s personnel file, released in 2014 by the Diocese of Davenport, shows that Fr. Janssen was studying at Loyola University in Chicago and living and working at St. Isaac Jogues in Hinsdale, Illinois from approximately 1956 to 1958. During his time at St. Isaac Jogues, Fr. Janssen is believed to have worked with the Boy Scouts. A parochial school student and altar boy at St. Isaac Jogues reported allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct while Fr. Janssen was serving at St. Isaac Jogues. Fr. Janssen has been accused of sexually abusing at least 37 minors over three decades. In 2004, the Diocese of Davenport settled a suit with 37 plaintiffs who claim to have been accused by Fr. Janssen. The first allegations reach as far back as 1953, while he was assigned to St. Irenaeus’ and Sacred Heart Church, Fr. Janssen has been accused of sexually abusing a number of boys from the diocesan St. Vincent’s Orphanage. Fr. Janssen’s nephew also claims to have been sexually abused by his uncle, starting in approximately 1953 and continuing until 1962. In 2014, Bishop William E. Franklin of the Diocese of Davenport stated in a letter to the people of the Diocese of Davenport that the Diocese’s Review Board recommended that he request that the Vatican laicize Fr. Janssen. Fr. Janssen’s whereabouts and whether he has had access to children from 2004 until his death in 2015 are unknown.

Fr. James Janssen Documents