Offices of Texas Catholic archdiocese searched in sex-abuse case

By Peter Szekely (Reuters) - Texas authorities searched the offices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Wednesday looking for documents related to a priest who was charged in September with sex crimes.

Reuters November 29, 2018 03:06:29 IST
Offices of Texas Catholic archdiocese searched in sex-abuse case

Offices of Texas Catholic archdiocese searched in sexabuse case

By Peter Szekely

(Reuters) - Texas authorities searched the offices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Wednesday looking for documents related to a priest who was charged in September with sex crimes.

Agents of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and officers from the Texas Rangers and the City of Conroe police force executed a search warrant of the archdiocese's Houston offices seeking information on the priest, Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, prosecutors said.

He faces four felony counts of indecency with a child.

Allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, especially with minors, have roiled dioceses across the United States and in other countries, eroding confidence in the Church and the Pope.

Last month the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into child sex abuse by priests in Pennsylvania, where the state's attorney general had previously issued a report that contained graphic examples of children being groomed and sexually abused by clergymen.

In their raid, Texas authorities were seeking documents, records, electronics and other evidence related to their investigation of LaRosa-Lopez, 60, who was charged on Sept. 10, the district attorney's office said in statement. LaRosa-Lopez is free on $375,000 bond, and is due in court on Jan. 10.

The archdiocese said in its own statement that it was cooperating with the investigation and the search warrant, and had already compiled the information sought by authorities. It declined further comment.

Searches in the case took authorities in September to two Texas churches and a religious treatment centre, the district attorney's office said.

In September, the archdiocese said it had investigated a charge in 2001 that LaRosa-Lopez inappropriately kissed and touched a 16-year-old girl. After an internal review in which the priest denied the allegations, it said he had been permitted to return to work at a parish in 2004.

It said there had been no allegations against LaRosa-Lopez until August, when a 36-year-old man said the priest sexually abused him when he was a high school student about 20 years ago. The archdiocese said it reported the charge, which LaRosa-Lopez denied, to Texas Child Protective Services.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; addional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Howard Goller)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.