The Diocese of Des Moines
Priest found guilty of invasion of privacy
December 18, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

            Father Paul Monahan, a retired priest of the Diocese of Des Moines, has been found guilty of five counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor, by Judge Gary Anderson, district associate judge of Iowa District 4 in a decision rendered Friday, December 16.  The decision will be appealed by Father’s attorney. 

            The charges stemmed from an incident involving Father Monahan at a high school track meet in April, 2016.

            Sentencing is scheduled for January 18, 2017. 

            Bishop Richard Pates first became aware on July 8 that law enforcement was investigating five allegations against Father Monahan. Following diocesan protocol, Bishop Pates immediately suspended the retired priest from all public ministry during the investigation and adjudication. The diocese’s first priority is in creating a safe environment for children.

            “On behalf of the Diocese of Des Moines, I wish to extend my apologies to those who experienced injury,” said Bishop Richard Pates. “During this Advent season, I ask you to keep in your prayers the victims and their families, the Council Bluffs community served by Father Monahan for many years, and for Father Monahan.”

What’s next?

            Father Monahan’s suspension remains in effect. The case will be brought before the diocesan Allegation Review Committee, as outlined in the diocesan policy on sexual abuse of a minor by clergy (  The committee will investigate the matter in order to advise Bishop Pates on the appropriate action to be taken with regard to the ministry of Father Monahan. 

The diocesan Allegation Review Committee is comprised of a judge, a police chief, an attorney, a licensed clinical social worker, a priest and a permanent deacon.


            The diocese offers counseling and assistance to such victims and invites any others who were victims to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate, Sherry Knox, at 515-286-2028 or or  Knox works for Polk County Victim Assistance and can help with making a complaint and seeking support.

Service record

            Father Monahan was ordained in 1960 and retired in 2004.

            He taught at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines for four years after ordination and then was assigned to serve as a teacher at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs. In 1975, he became principal of St. Albert High School.

In 1979, he began parish ministry. He served St. Columbanus in Weston, St. Mary in Avoca, St. Patrick in Walnut, Holy Family in Council Bluffs, St. Mary in Portsmouth and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Glenwood.

In retirement, he has served at St. Albert Schools as a senior chaplain. Save to


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