Photo: 2010 AP photo of Jerome Coyle by Reuben Ortiz
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese in Iowa has hidden for decades a priest’s admission that he sexually abused dozens of boys, a silence that may have put other children in danger.
The Associated Press has learned that the Rev. Jerome Coyle, now 85, was stripped of his parish assignments in the 1980s but has never been defrocked or publicly identified by the church as a pedophile, even though the Diocese of Sioux City has been aware of his conduct for 32 years.
He recently moved into a retirement home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, across the street from a parochial school.
He refuses to comment.
A diocese letter obtained by the AP shows that Coyle told the bishop in 1986 that he had victimized 50 youngsters over a 20-year period.
The diocese says it will respond later in the day Wednesday.