Catholic Diocese Discloses Alleged Abusers

Bishop names 22 clergy “credibly accused” of sexual offenses with minors

Bishop Joe Vásquez
Bishop Joe Vásquez

Along with its fellow Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the state, the Diocese of Austin last week published the names and clerical assignments of priests who have been "credibly accused" of committing sexual abuse against minors. A total of 22 ordained religious who had ministered in the diocese, which includes Austin, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Bryan/College Station, and surrounding counties, were identified "with a contrite heart" by Bishop Joe Vásquez, who said he'd commissioned an outside review of 70 years of church archives to compile the list. Half of the men on the list have died; only one is apparently serving as a priest, in Jamaica, the rest having retired or been defrocked.

The bishop's list gives no indication of whether the "credible" allegations had been substantiated, or when the acts of abuse may have occurred, or to whom, or how many times, or whether those acts constituted criminal offenses, or whether these or other clergy had also been accused of misconduct with adults. The coordinated effort by the Texas bishops, which had been announced last fall, follows the November raid by local and federal agents of the offices of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in connection with the case of a priest arrested in September on four counts of indecency with a child. "It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will help to bring healing from the hurt and anger caused by the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership," said Vásquez. One of the priests on the list, the now-deceased Fr. Milton Eggerling, was the subject of a 2016 lawsuit regarding alleged abuse in the Seventies of a teen altar boy at St. Louis King of France Catholic Church in North Austin ("Austin Diocese Implicated in Child Abuse Suit," April 1, 2016).

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Diocese of Austin, clergy sexual abuse, Joe Vásquez, Daniel DiNardo, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, St. Louis Catholic Church, Milton Eggerling

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