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Conroe church raided after ex-priest sex abuse arrest

September 18, 2018

Police have raided the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe less than a week after a former priest was accused of child molestation.

Conroe police Sgt. Scott McCann confirmed that detectives and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office searched the church Monday afternoon in connection to the arrest of Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who has been charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

While executing the search warrant, authorities could be seen walking out of the church on the corner of Frazier and Metalf with boxes and plastic bins, according to KHOU-TV video footage. It was not immediately known what was taken from the church or what authorities were looking for.

The search warrant was requested to “cover all bases,” and find anything at the church that could progress the case, McCann said.

The alleged sex abuse — targeting boys and girls — spanned several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Rosa-Lopez was assigned to the church as a parochial vicar.

The father of a 16-year-old victim discovered a diary detailing his daughter’s sexual relationship with a man and believed him to be Rosa-Lopez. The father reported him to the church in 2001, prompting him to be transferred out of his clergy assignement. Rosa-Lopez was allowed to return to parish ministry in 2004.

In response to both claims, officials for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said Child Protective Services were contacted after the 2001 allegation and last month, when a 36-year-old man accused Rosa-Lopez of sexually abusing him as a child.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

@nkhensley

jay.jordan@chron.com

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