Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Responds to Lawsuit

November 9, 2010

For Immediate Release: Nov. 9, 2010
Contact: Jenny Faber, Director of Communications; 713.652.8223

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston responds to lawsuit

HOUSTON – The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was today made aware of a lawsuit brought by a woman who claims to have been sexually abused by a clergyman of the Archdiocese over 40 years ago. The priest named in the lawsuit died in November 2000. The Archdiocese has not received a copy of this lawsuit and cannot address specifics in the lawsuit.

The Archdiocese was not aware of the Plaintiff's complaint of alleged abuse by the priest in question until Spring 2010, when the Archdiocese received a letter from the Plaintiff claiming sexual abuse by the named cleric.

Archdiocesan officials reached out to the individual making the allegation with a desire to hear the complaint formally and offer counseling and pastoral support while the allegation was investigated, per Archdiocesan policy. After doing so, the Archdiocese received no further communication from the Plaintiff or her attorney until the lawsuit was filed today.

While the priest named in the lawsuit was in ministry, the Archdiocese received no information that he may have been a threat to children or youth. Another lawsuit was filed by the same attorney earlier this year on behalf of five siblings who first contacted the Archdiocese through their attorney in 2007, seven years after the priest's death. That 2007 letter was the first time the Archdiocese had received any complaint suggesting alleged abuse by the priest in question.

The cleric named in the lawsuit was ordained for the Archdiocese in 1947. He served at parishes in Beaumont and Houston before retiring in 1993 at the age of 72.

In keeping with its commitment to the U.S. bishops' 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese enforces strict policies that protect all youth. In compliance with those policies, the Archdiocese reviews every allegation of abuse. Counseling is offered to every person who comes forth with an allegation of sexual abuse by clergy, regardless of any future developments in determining the validity of an allegation.

In the case of an allegation against a deceased priest, it is far more difficult to fully investigate the claim. However, the Archdiocese endeavors to explore each allegation as thoroughly as possible and, more importantly, seek healing in every case in which youth have suffered abuse.

About the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's Child Protection Efforts

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has made it a priority to create safe environments in its parishes and schools and to continue to support all people impacted by sexual abuse. The Archdiocese has worked diligently to implement the U.S. bishops' 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Approximately 65,000 persons involved in Archdiocesan work in 10 counties have been educated in the prevention of child sexual abuse.