A Letter from Cardinal DiNardo
Vatican Response to McCarrick Scandal
Pope Francis instructs the Holy See Press Office to release the following statement concerning the Vatican's response to allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Here is the full text of the press statement: Read more...
Parish Open Forum Summary
U.S. Bishops Announce New Abuse-Prevention Measures and Call for McCarrick Investigation
Policy and Procedure For Investigating Allegations of Sexual Abuse By Clergy Against a Minor
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Sexual abuse by a priest or deacon violates human dignity, clerical commitment and the very mission of the Church. It diminishes and, at times, destroys the relationship of trust that is necessary for ministry.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston considers allegations of sexual abuse by its clergy a very serious matter and is committed to promptly responding to such allegations. The safety and protection of children and young people is our primary concern. We are deeply saddened by any abuse of minors and are committed to assisting the victims/family in healing and reconciliation. Towards this end, compassionate support will be offered to victims/families and a thorough and timely investigation of all allegations will be undertaken in accordance with the procedure stipulated in this document.
For purposes of this document, clergy will include not only priests and deacons, but also seminarians of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. When the accused cleric is a member of a religious institute, his superiors will be contacted and informed of the allegation. If the accused cleric is a diocesan priest/deacon from another diocese, his diocesan bishop will be contacted and informed of the allegation. In these cases, it is responsibility of the superior/bishop to investigate the allegation in accordance with their policies.
The Bishop, by virtue of his role and function in the Church, is charged with the pastoral care of both the faithful and the clergy, and with the promotion of unity in the diocese in a communion of charity and reconciliation. Hence, this document is intended to assist the Bishop of Galveston-Houston in the exercise of his pastoral ministry to the faithful and clergy entrusted to him by Christ, the Good Shepherd, and to assist him in carrying out his canonical responsibilities in the internal governance of the Archdiocese. The persons and bodies referenced in the policy, such as the Victim Assistance Coordinator and the members of the Review Board and the Special Panel, are part of this procedure and are considered advisors to the Bishop in carrying out his canonical responsibilities.
These procedures are subject to the provisions of canon law and will be reviewed at least every two years and will be modified or supplemented as laws, circumstances and situations require.
1. Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor (whether the person is a minor at the time of the reporting or whether the person is now an adult but was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse) are to be immediately referred to the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC). The VAC will take an initial account of the data as presented by the informant, attempting to gather as much pertinent information as possible pertaining to the allegation(s). The VAC will express the concern of the Bishop, begin the discussion of counseling for the victim/family, advise the victim/family of their right to report to legal authorities, and inform the alleged victim/parents of minor that the VAC will be their communication contact with the Diocese. In the event that the VAC is unable to respond to the alleged victim within a 24 hour period, the Chancellor, or another delegate of the Bishop, is to take the initial account.
2. The VAC will immediately provide a verbal report of the allegation to the Bishop (Chancellor in the Bishop's absence).
3. The Bishop (Chancellor in the Bishop's absence) will immediately consult with legal counsel regarding compliance with applicable civil law reporting statutes.
4. The Bishop will assign a Case Manager, in most cases the Chancellor, to ensure that the policy is followed and the records properly kept.
5. The VAC will provide a written memo reporting the allegation to the Bishop and the Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Review Board. The Bishop will convene the Review Board to assess the allegation and advise him regarding the credibility of the allegation and the need for an investigation.
6. The Bishop or his delegate shall arrange to promptly meet with the accused cleric to inform him of the allegation. In this meeting the accused cleric should be:
d. informed if any restrictions are placed upon him or his ministry during the period of investigation, up to and including being relieved of ministry and/or the parish.
8. If the accused cleric denies the allegation or declines comment during the meeting with the Bishop, then the Bishop shall convene a Special Panel (3-5 persons, including at least one priest), who will conduct an investigation to determine if the allegation can be established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law (Canon 1717-1719).
9. The Special Panel will:
b. prepare a written report of its findings to the Bishop (copies shall be provided to the Case Manager and the Chairperson of the Board); and
c. make recommendation(s) regarding subsequent action to be taken with respect to the accused cleric and the alleged victim.
10. The Bishop shall reconvene the Review Board to review the Special Panel's report and to advise the appropriate next course of action.
b. The Bishop will proceed with a canonical trial when directed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, unless it reserves the case to itself because of special circumstances.
c. If the case would be barred by prescription, the Bishop shall apply to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a dispensation from prescription, indicating the appropriate pastoral reasons.
d. The alleged offender may be requested to seek appropriate medical and psychological evaluations at a mutually acceptable facility.
e. If the Bishop determines that there is insufficient evidence that sexual abuse has occurred, he will receive any recommendations from the Review Board as to an appropriate course of action. The Bishop will notify the alleged victim and the cleric of the advice of the Review Board by a proper forum.
Update on Ongoing Investigation of Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez
Yesterday our parish was served with a search warrant in relation to the ongoing investigation of Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez. This is a normal part of the ongoing investigation of which we are cooperating and we will keep you informed as this process unfolds. Please contact Detective Joe McGrew at the Conroe Police Department at 936-522-3591 if you have any information.
Actualización sobre la investigación en curso del Padre Manuel LaRosa-Lopez
Ayer, nuestra parroquia recibió una orden de registro en relación con la investigación en curso del Padre Manuel LaRosa-Lopez. Esta es una parte normal de la investigación en curso de la cual estamos cooperando y los mantendremos informados a medida que se desarrolle este proceso. Comuníquese con el Detective Joe McGrew en el Departamento de Policía de Conroe al 936-522-3591 si tiene información.
An Important Letter from Father Philip
September 12, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This morning we learned that a priest of our archdiocese and a former Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart in Conroe, Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, had turned himself into Conroe Police at the Montgomery County Jail on allegations of sexual abuse of minors at our parish during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Join me in offering prayers for the healing of these victims.
In the statement below the Archdiocese gives more information about this ongoing investigation. Anyone with knowledge about this or any other abuse are encouraged to contact the Conroe Police Department at 936-522-3203. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, please contact the Conroe Police and know that we are praying for your healing and are here to assist you.
I encourage all parishioners to continue offering our prayers and penance for the healing of all victims of sexual abuse and for the purification of our Church.
Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
If you have knowledge of abuse to minor please contact Abuse Hotline at https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx or if an emergency call 800-252-5400.
12 de septiembre de 2018.
Queridos hermanos y hermanas,
Esta mañana nos enteramos de que un sacerdote de nuestra arquidiócesis y ex-vicario parroquial del Sagrado Corazón en Conroe, el P. Manuel LaRosa-López, se había entregado a la policía de Conroe en la cárcel del condado de Montgomery, por denuncias en su contra de abuso sexual de menores en nuestra parroquia a fines de la década de 1990 y principios del 2000. Únete a mí para ofrecer oraciones por la sanación de estas víc...timas.
En la declaración anexa (comunicado es en inglés se proporcionar en español en breve) en, la Arquidiócesis brinda más información sobre esta investigación en curso. Se recomienda a cualquier persona que tenga conocimiento sobre este o cualquier otro abuso que se comunique con el Departamento de Policía de Conroe al 936-522-3203. Si usted es o ha sido víctima de abuso sexual, comuníquese con la Policía de Conroe y sepa que estamos orando por su sanación y estamos aquí para ayudarles.
Animo a todos los feligreses a continuar ofreciendo oraciones y penitencias por la sanación de todas las víctimas de abuso sexual y por la purificación de nuestra Iglesia.
- Philip Wilhite, Párroco.
12 de septiembre de 2018.