(Iowa City Press-Citizen) Former Regina High School principal Lawrence Soens has been sued again on claims that he allegedly sexually abused 13 former students.
Filed Tuesday in Scott County District Court, the lawsuit seeks damages from Soens, Regina High School and the Catholic Diocese of Davenport. The men allege that they were sexually abused by Soens while he served as Regina’s principal from 1958 to 1967.
Soens previously has been named in two sexual abuse lawsuits, each filed by former Regina High School students, but has denied all accusations through his attorneys. Soens also served as Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese from 1983 to 1998.
Davenport lawyer Craig Levien, who represents the plaintiffs, said a total of 16 claims have been filed stemming from Soens’ alleged conduct. One has been settled out of court and the rest, including the 13 plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit, are pending in Scott County District Court.
“They’ve chosen not to mediate so the victims really have no choice other than proceed with a lawsuit,” Levien said.
In a prepared release, diocese spokesman David Montgomery wrote that the diocese was not able to mediate because it could not afford the requested claims. Montgomery wrote that the diocese offered to meet with the alleged victims and offer them assistance and counseling.
“Based upon the investigation by the diocese to date, officials of the diocese did not know and had no reason to know that any abusive acts were being committed by Bishop Lawrence D. Soens at Regina High School,” Montgomery wrote. “The Diocese of Davenport denies any liability to these claimants and will vigorously defend itself in court.”
Reach Mike McWilliams at 339-7360 or firstname.lastname@example.org