Diocese of Venice ACCUSED PRIESTS
The Diocese of Venice, Florida, was founded in 1984 and serves 237,000 Catholics. The diocese includes Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota Ccounties.
In 2018, the Florida Attorney General launched an investigation into clergy abuse in all seven Florida dioceses. The Attorney General completed its investigation in 2021 and named 97 priests accused of sexual abuse. Of those 97 priests, nine are from the Diocese of Venice. In a letter to parishioners, the diocese’s Bishop Frank Dewane stated that none of the nine priests were still serving as priests in the diocese.
While the Diocese of Venice has not released a list of every priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the diocese’s website has named the nine priests identified in the Attorney General’s report. The ProPublica website also lists the following priests who may have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in the diocese: Norman T. Connelly, John R. Dwyer, John Dagwell “Aloysius,” Robert Bond, and Thomas P. Creagh.
Since the diocese’s founding in 1984, at least eight priests have been accused of abusing minors. The most well-known predator priest is Robert Schaeufele, accused of sexually abusing several minors when he served in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Schaeufele resigned from the priesthood in 2002 after he admitted to molesting two minors and assaulting another. In 2003, Schaeufele would go on to plead guilty to these three counts of sexual abuse.
The trial court sentenced Schaeufele to thirty years in prison. He was released in 2015.
In another case involving a predator priest, the Catholic Church reportedly spent $50,000 to help priest Edward McLoughlin begin a new life in Ireland to avoid criminal charges of child sexual abuse while serving in the St. Charles Borromeo parish. A former altar boy filed a lawsuit in 1997, alleging sexual abuse by McLoughlin. Disturbingly enough, the boy had actually gone to McLoughlin for counseling about another priest who had sexually abused him.
According to these allegations, the diocese knew as early as 1983 that McLoughlin was allowing boys to sleep overnight in McLoughlin’s rectory, but the church did nothing about it. In a letter to parishioners in 2002, the then-bishop John Nevins denied that he changed McLoughlin’s assignments to cover up his abuse, and that he helped McLoughlin flee to Ireland to escape criminal charges against him.
The Diocese of Venice has settled several lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests serving in the diocese. According to reports, as of 2002, the diocese had spent at least $1.5 million to settle lawsuits of priest sexual abuse. In 2014, the diocese entered into a six-figure settlement with a man who accused former diocese priest Jean Ronald Joseph of molesting the boy when he was 16 years old in the 1980s.
Many children who are victims of sexual abuse do not come forward until later in life. No matter when someone sexually abused you, you may be able to take legal action against both your abuser and the Diocese of Venice. The Diocese of Venice was in charge of protecting you, and if they failed to do so, you can potentially hold the institution responsible and receive monetary compensation to help you on your healing journey. If someone sexually abused you or a loved one at the Diocese of Venice, contact our legal team of Florida sexual abuse attorneys at Herman Law today for a free consultation.
All Consultations are FREE and Confidential
* REQUIRED INFORMATION