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Sex abuse lawyer Dan Ellis reacts to allegations against priest Leo Riley

Leo Riley, a priest belonging to the Diocese of Venice in Florida, is facing five counts of sexual abuse in the second degree. The charges against Riley stem from incidents that occurred years ago when he worked as a priest in Iowa from 1982 to 2002. The State of Iowa’s formal complaint outlines the disturbing acts of sexual assault that Riley allegedly committed against his victims at Resurrection Parish.

Father Riley was assigned to 17 different parishes during his time in Iowa before transferring to Florida in the early 2000s and working as a priest in Port Charlotte. Dan Ellis, sex abuse lawyer at Herman Law, says the numerous reassignments set off a red flag.

“Typically a pastor is assigned to a parish for about a three year period. So when I see that a pastor is bouncing around 17 parishes in about 20 years, that sets off red flags to me.”

This arrest has cast a shadow on the Diocese of Venice. A recent report highlighted disturbing findings about the number of abusers within local parishes, to which Dan Ellis stated, “[The Diocese of Venice] needs to do more to ensure the safety of children. There should be zero tolerance for abuse and a clear protocol for reporting and investigating such allegations.” Ellis further emphasized the importance of transparency within the Diocese, urging them to “regain the trust of the community.”

Questions are now being raised about Leo Riley’s background and how he was allowed to serve within the Diocese. It is unclear whether any red flags emerged during Riley’s time with the Diocese of Venice. Child sex abuse attorney Dan Ellis stated that “[the Diocese] needs to examine how Riley was vetted and assigned to different parishes. There should be clear guidelines to prevent predators from infiltrating the church.”

The extradition process is underway, and Riley is expected to face trial in Iowa. The outcome of the case will be closely monitored by the local communities in Dubuque, Iowa, and Venice, Florida. The Diocese of Venice, meanwhile, faces the challenge of regaining public trust and implementing stricter protocols to ensure the safety of children within its parishes.

If you or a loved one were abused as a child by priest Leo Riley, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. We are committed to helping sexual abuse victims seek justice and healing.

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