Bp. Pates victimizes woman who wants to clear deacon’s name
DES MOINES, Iowa (ChurchMilitant.com) – The woman at the heart of an allegation of impropriety is being victimized by the bishop who won’t hear her testimony to clear a deacon’s good name.
“I never felt so welcome in a church,” Jessica Crouse said of St. Augustin Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Crouse said Deacon Mike Manno and his wife, Luanne, helped to get her back to practicing her Catholic faith after several mistakes and a divorce that left her alienated from her family.
Crouse told Church Militant that the women of the parish were “amazing” and she started to get really involved in the parish, saying she “felt like I was part of something.” Deacon Manno and Luanne were her “parish parents” and their spiritual guidance helped Crouse find her spiritual home.
All of that changed in April 2017, when Bp. Richard Pates of the diocese of Des Moines, Iowa told all priests, deacons and Pastoral Center staff that they have “received two concerns relative to Deacon Mike Manno.”
One of those allegations was that he was having a sexual relationship with “little Jessie,” as she was known in the parish. Crouse said she would have learned of the allegations when the parish secretary asked her about them, if Deacon Manno hadn’t warned her first.
Crouse said she “couldn’t breathe” and felt sick to her stomach when she learned that was one of the concerns. She again spoke of the Mannos as her “parish parents” and said, “He took something so sweet and innocent and turned it into something disgusting.”