Early next year, all 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas along with the Chair of St. Peter will reveal the names of clergy who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor, the Diocese of Dallas said in a statement on Wednesday.
Last month, Texas bishops decided to list the names no later than January 31st, 2019, as part of an effort “to protect children from sexual abuse” while simultaneously promoting “healing and a restoration of trust” in the church, the statement said.
Dallas Bishop Edward Burns said, “Opening our files to outside investigators and releasing the names is something I have been considering for some time. Since I believe it is the right thing to do, the Diocese of Dallas has had outside investigators, a team made up of former FBI, state troopers and other experts in law enforcement, examining our files since February, and they still have work to do.” Bishop Burns went on to say, “My brother bishops and I recognize that this type of transparency and accountability is what the Catholic faithful want and need.”
WATCH: Bishop Burns press conference on release of names of clergy:
Bishop Burns said the investigation constitutes a “major project” because it will include all 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas.
“My brother bishops and I hope this action can be a step that leads to healing for all those who have been harmed by members of the Church,” Burns said in the statement. “I add my sincere sorrow for the pain that has been caused for victims and the Catholic faithful.”
The announcement on Wednesday came on the heels of Burns telling parishioners that his diocese has hired a team of former state and federal law enforcement officers to review the personnel files of 220 priests now serving in the diocese. The investigation will review any and all accusations against priests, not only those reports involving the sexual abuse of minors. The investigation will more than likely expand to include those who have served previously, as well as those serving currently.
“Opening our files to outside investigators and releasing the names is something I have been considering for some time,” Burns said in Wednesday’s statement. “Since I believe it is the right thing to do, the Diocese of Dallas has had outside investigators, a team made up of former FBI, state troopers and other experts in law enforcement, examining our files since February, and they still have work to do.”
Last week, a third person alleged a Houston-area Catholic priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, sexually touched him when he was a teenager. This probe involved Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, who is leading the American church’s response to sexual abuse.
DiNardo is already being accused by two others of disregarding their reports against La Rosa-Lopez, the pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in the Houston suburb of Richmond. La Rosa-Lopez was arrested in September and charged with four counts of indecency with a child.
The recent developments follow Pope Francis’ removal of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in July for allegedly groping a teenage altar boy in the 1970s, as well as the release in August of a lengthy Pennsylvania grand jury report listing the names of over 300 priests and outlining the details of sexual abuse allegations that go back decades. (Read more below)
Join the conversation!
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.