By: Christine Souders
Two local pastors have been temporarily suspended, accused of inappropriately touching minors.
The Diocese of Davenport made the announcement on Monday about Father Robert Harness, the pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Davenpor, and John Stack, the Chaplain at Mercy Medical Center in Clinton.
The alleged abuse reportedly happened decades ago.
The allegations against Father Robert Harness have shocked Davenport's Holy Family Catholic Church, and the accusations are drawing a strong reaction from churchgoers.
The news of the alleged abuse was announced to churchgoers at Saturday and Sunday Masses this weekend. and Monday, emails were sent out to parents of students who attend All Saints Catholic School, and the Teddy Bear Preschool and Daycare.
"My daughter was chosen to walk the wine up to the Reverend a few weeks ago, and like what are the thoughts going through his head,"said Carrie Bailey who told us she and her family attend church on Sundays, and her 5 year old daughter goes to All Saints Catholic School.
She said the accusation of child abuse against her pastor is very disturbing, "He's supposed to be a leader in the community, little kids looking up to him and if that's the situation, you feel like you can't really trust anybody."
Another church member said he's known Father Harness for 7 years, and tells us the recent news is unfathomable.
"The man is a kind gentle man. I've had him at my house a number of times with my grandchildren, and children, and I've never seen anything that would ever lead me to believe that he would be capable of what's he's being accused of," said Robert Jones, Holy Family Catholic Church Member.
The Diocese of Davenport said Father Harness has been temporarily removed from his duties as pastor.
Although, Father Farness declined to go on camera, he told us he's surprised by the report of molestation, and said he is not guilty.
"There's a great deal of hurt here at the church over this, and we're hoping that this can be resolved very very quickly, so we can get back to business as normal."
Masses have been called off this week.
If a child you know has been abused contact the Child Abuse Hotline 800-362-2178
The Diocese reported the allegations to the Scott County Attorney Mike Walton, but he said the statute of limitations has expired.
"In most sex abuse cases involving a child, we have until ten years after the complaint ant turns 18, so basically until they're 28 to file criminal charges," said Scott County Attorney Mike Walton.
He said because the allegations happened so long ago, the Scott County Attorneys' Office can not pursue criminal charges against the pastors.
Statutes, a local organization said they are fighting on the senate floor to change.
"There's a limit on how long they have to press charges on somebody, when there is no limit in fact in how long it takes them to recover from being abused," said Natalie Long, S.A.A.M. Organization.
S.A.A.M. or sexual abuse against minors hope to meet with a sub committee next year in hopes of writing a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations in Iowa.