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Archdiocese set to release list of ‘credibly accused’ priests in Houston region

January 31, 2019

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to make public Thursday a list of priests “credibly accused” of child sex abuse since the 1950s.

The list, which should join similar lists set to be released by dioceses across Texas on Thursday, will disclose which priests have faced allegations deemed credible by archdiocese officials.

Get the list of ‘credibly abused’ priests right when it’s published—sign up for breaking news alerts by visiting houstonchronicle.com/breakingnews

The lists follow a sweeping grand jury report released in Pennsylvania in August that found more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused at least 1,000 children over seven decades while being protected by church leaders. It is believed to be the largest investigation into priest sexual abuse ever in the United States.

More than 70 dioceses nationwide announced similar plans to compile lists of pedophile priests, including the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas. And it comes amid a criminal investigation of former Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who has been charged with abusing two youths.

The archdiocese officials have not said how their list would be compiled, whose names it would contain or how they defined “credibly accused.”

The state’s bishops — among them San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Laredo, Lubbock, San Angelo, Tyler and Victoria — agreed to independently release their lists by Thursday.

Dioceses in other states that have done the same have included the assignment history of priests, the number of victims and records detailing their transfers from parish to parish.

In 2005, the Diocese of Fort Worth was first in the state to publish a list of accused clergy members. It contained the names of the priests, when and where they were ordained and which parishes they were assigned to.

Former Bishop Joseph Fiorenza disclosed in 2004 that 22 priests and four deacons within the Galveston-Houston religious jurisdiction had faced sexual abuse allegations.

The complaints resulted in $3.6 million worth of settlements, counseling and legal fees, according to The Texas Catholic Herald, which published Fiorenza’s tally. The data was collected for a John Jay College of Criminal Justice study, which did not identify the priests.

The Houston Chronicle has identified up to 20 priests accused of sexual misconduct through court records, victim testimony and news reports.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

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