Sexual Abuse Scandal Updates

VATICAN NEWS

New norms for the whole Church against those who abuse or cover up

MAY 9, 2019  Pope Francis’ Motu proprio, "Vos estis lux mundi", establishes new procedures for reporting abuse and violence, and ensures that Bishops and Religious Superiors are held accountable for their actions. It includes the obligation for clerics and religious to report abuse. Every Diocese must have a system that allows the public to submit reports easily.  Read more...
 
NOTICIAS del VATICANO
 

Nuevas normas para toda la Iglesia contra los que abusan o encubren

09 MAYO, 2019 El motu proprio de Francisco "Vos estis lux mundi" establece nuevos procedimientos para denunciar el acoso y la violencia, y asegurar que los obispos y los superiores religiosos sean responsables de sus acciones. Establece la obligación para los clérigos y religiosos de denunciar los abusos. Cada diócesis deberá tener un sistema que sea fácilmente accesible al público para recibir informes.   Lee mas...

 
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New Allegations

March 30, 2019
 
I received news via email late yesterday that Fr. Jesus Suarez, currently pastor of St. Philip of Jesus in Houston, has been removed from active ministry due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor while serving in Colombia before coming to our archdiocese.

Fr. Suarez served here in Conroe as Parochial Vicar and so I am to read the attached statement at all Masses this weekend. All prior assignment parishes and his present one are being advised so that if there was any sexual misconduct by him with minors in these parishes, those victims would contact civil authorities.

Let us continue to pray for all survivors of sexual abuse, their families, and the purification of the Church.
 
Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
 
Queridos Feligreses,

Ayer recibí  noticias por correo electronico, que el Padre Jesus Suarez, parroco de San Felipe de Jesus en Houston, ha sido removido del ministerio activo por razón de acusaciones de abuso sexual de un menor de edad - un joven - cuando el estuvo en Colombia antes de llegar a nuestra arquidiocesis.

El Padre Suarez sirvio aquí en Conroe como Vicario Parroquial y por eso leeré una carta avisando a nuestros feligreses de esto en todas las Misas este fin de semana.

Todas las parroquias donde el sirvió están recibiendo avisos este fin de semana para que, si realizo algún abuso sexual, por el a un menor de edad en estas parroquias, las victimas puedan contactar a la policia.

Les pido que continuemos rezando por todos los sobrevivientes del abuso sexual, por sus familias, y por la purificación de la Iglesia.

Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor
 
 

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A Letter from Father Philip

 
February 3 , 2019 
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Now that the list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct is published, what do we do? First of all, pray for those — especially our precious children — who have been hurt by the evil actions of those in the Church. There is no excuse for such depravity, and clergy should be held to the highest standard. We should help those abused with counseling, love and respect for bringing these grave offenses into the light, at times at great cost to their hearts and souls.
 
At the same time, we must not allow the sins of a few to cause us to separate ourselves from Jesus and his Church. We must believe in God, not men. Please do not let the sins of a few drive you away from the graces of our sacraments. Doing so only hurts our own hearts.
 
The work of the Church must continue even in the midst of crisis. The Mystical Body of Christ is called to love even in the midst of sin and failure. I cannot imagine saying that we should cease good behavior because of the sin of others. Let us rise up in a wave of great faith and holiness and show our world that sin will not conquer.
 
Let us not give any more power to evil than it already has. We cannot change what was, but we can bring a renewed vigor to our Church. We began the rebuilding some 17 years ago with the Dallas Charter. We still have a way to go, and with the release of this list I believe we continue to be on the right track.
 
Please pray for the survivors of sexual abuse and for our Church.
 
In Christ,
Fr. Philip Wilhite
 

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Galveston-Houston List of Priests with Credible Sexual Abuse Allegations

 

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 Today we learned of the news of 42 priests who served in our archdiocese since 1950 that had credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors. While this news is devastating we hope and pray that it will bring further healing to the survivors of the abuse and courage to make a change for anyone that finds themselves in an abusive relationship today.

 The Cardinal’s letter and the list are provided on our parish website and Facebook page and will be published in our parish bulletin in the February 10th edition. The lists indicate only that there is a credible allegation and then lists all of the assignments that the priest had within our archdiocese. In reviewing Sacred Heart – Conroe we note that two priests are listed – Fr. Manuel La Rosa and Fr. Richard Edelin.

 Please take time to read through the letter and the list and note that there is a Question and Answer section on the archdiocesan website at archgh.org.

 Let us pray for God’s healing for all survivors of sexual abuse, their family members and for our Church. May we seek and find new ways to better protect our children and youth in our Church and within society.

 In Christ,

Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor

Click for full details...

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A Letter from Father Philip

January 27, 2019
 
Dear Brothers and a Sisters,
 
The list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors is set to be released by the end of this month. The only acceptable number is “0.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. We have sinners in the Church and some of them are clergy. Satan has special interest in the clergy because he knows that if he brings one of them down, more damage can be inflicted on the Church. Some have given into his temptations and committed very grave sins and should be held accountable. Regrettably, the manner of dealing with these moral failures was not always adequate nor appropriate. Thanks be to God that our Catholic Church in America implemented a very vigorous response to this horrible problem begun with the Dallas Charter of 2002. We must continue to build on what we have achieved and prayerfully move forward to even greater holiness and purity. Please continue to pray for healing for all survivors of sexual abuse and for our Church.
 
In Christ,
Fr. Philip Wilhite
 
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January 20, 2019
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
In a couple of weeks our Archdiocese will be releasing a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. Please remember that, while the Church is holy, not every member is holy. We have had terrible sinners in our Church for the very beginning, from some popes on down, even to our present day. When truth is told the great majority of clergy, husbands and wives, youth and young children, while sinners, attempt to live and follow Love’s laws. We have 395 priests (diocesan and religious orders) and 433 permanent deacons in the Archdiocese. The list to be released goes back to 1950, which would have several hundred more priests who have served in our diocese at one time or another. (Religious priests move in and out of a diocese rather regularly). Please pray for the healing of all survivors of sexual abuse and for our Church.
 
In Christ,
Fr. Philip Wilhite

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Statement of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston 

Jesuits Release List of Credibly Accused Priest

Declaración de la Lista de Sacerdotes Jesuitas de la Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston

December 7, 2018


“The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province released today a list of Jesuits against whom there are credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. There are five priests listed who had served at one time or another in the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston. There is only one priest on the list whose behavior is alleged to have occurred in the Archdiocese. Father Vincent Orlando S.J. was at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory when the alleged behavior occurred in the mid-1980s. The Jesuit order removed him from ministry shortly after the allegation was made in 2002. Strake Jesuit informed the students and their parents immediately after the allegations were made. The Jesuits suggest if anyone has any further questions to please contact. Therese Meyerhoff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 314-758-7173. If you or anyone you know has experienced abuse as minor by a Jesuit please contact Ms. Carol Brescia, LCSW at 314-915 7168 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7 de diciembre de 2018
"Los jesuitas de la Provincia Central y del Sur de EE. UU. Dieron a conocer hoy en la lista de jesuitas contra los cuales hay acusaciones creíbles de abuso sexual de un menor. Existen cinco sacerdotes que habían servido en un momento u otro en la Arquidiócesis de Galveston - Houston. Sólo hay uno de ellos esta mencionado en la lista cuyo comportamiento se alega que ocurrió en la Arquidiócesis. El padre Vincent Orlando SJ estaba en Strake Jesuit College College Preparatory cuando ocurrió el supuesto comportamiento a mediados de la década de 1980. La orden de los jesuitas lo sacó del ministerio poco después de que se hiciera la denuncia. 2002. Strake Jesuitas informó a los estudiantes y a sus padres inmediatamente después de que se hicieron las acusaciones. Los jesuitas sugieren si alguien tiene alguna pregunta comunicarse con la Sra. Therese Meyerhoff al This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. o al 314 758-7173. Si usted o alguien que conoce ha sufrido abuso como menor de edad, comuníquese con la Sra. Carol Brescia, LCSW al 314-915 7168 o This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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A Letter from Father Philip

November 30, 2018

Dear Parish Family,

This week we witnessed another step in the ongoing healing and purification of our Church as a search warrant was served at our Chancery in Houston regarding the case of Fr. Manuel La Rosa Lopez. I trust that we are continuing to pray that God use this process to help us as a Church community to improve in protecting children and youth - and all people.

May I ask us to pray the Rosary at home as a family asking God for his wisdom to be shared with us and that we use it to discern and take action as quickly as possible? I also encourage each of us to choose one day a week to fast as a penance for the sins committed against children in our church and throughout the world. Lastly please consider making an intention in your heart to offer the Mass you attend weekly to God as reparation for these sins and for the salvation of all. Also our St. Mary of the Woods Chapel is open for prayer and Adoration Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

The Parish Pastoral Council and I are working together to bring Children’s Safe Harbor located in Conroe to our parish in February to offer talks about sexual abuse and how we can improve in prevention and in the care of victims. And we are seeking to establish more counselors and support groups. These efforts will be ongoing, becoming annual practices to increase awareness and prevention in our parish.

In Christ,

Fr. Philip Wilhite, Pastor

 

30 de noviembre de 2018

Querida Familia Parroquial,

Esta semana fuimos testigos de otro paso en la curación y purificación en curso de nuestra Iglesia, ya que una orden de registro se cumplió en nuestra Cancillería en Houston con respecto al caso del Padre. Manuel La Rosa López. Confío en que continuamos orando para que Dios use este proceso para ayudarnos como comunidad parroquial a mejorar en los procesos de protección de los niños y los jóvenes, y de todas las personas.

¿Puedo pedirles que recemos el Rosario en casa como familia y que pidamos a Dios que comparta su sabiduría con nosotros y que la usemos para discernir y actuar lo más rápido posible? También animo a cada uno de ustedes a elegir un día a la semana para ayunar como penitencia por los pecados cometidos contra los niños en nuestra iglesia y en todo el mundo. Por último, considere hacer ofrecer a Dios desde su corazón la intención de la misa que asiste semanalmente, como reparación por estos pecados y por la salvación de todos. Además, nuestra Capilla de Santa María de los Bosques está abierta para la oración y la Adoración de lunes a jueves de 8 a.m. a 6: 15 p.m.

El Consejo Pastoral Parroquial y yo estamos trabajando juntos para traer a nuestra parroquia a Children’s Safe Harbor (Niños en Puerto seguro), ubicado en Conroe para ofrecer charlas sobre el abuso sexual y cómo podemos mejorar en la prevención y el cuidado de las víctimas. Y estamos buscando establecer más consejeros y grupos de apoyo. Estos esfuerzos continuarán, convirtiéndose en prácticas anuales para aumentar la concientización y prevención en nuestra parroquia.

 En Cristo

Phillip Wilhite, Párroco

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 President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Makes Statement at Close of Public Sessions

Read...

 

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A Letter from Cardinal DiNardo 

Read... 

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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...

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Parish Open Forum Summary  

Read more... 

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U.S. Bishops Announce New Abuse-Prevention Measures and Call for McCarrick Investigation

.- The U.S. bishops’ conference has announced new accountability measures in response to recent clerical sex-abuse scandals. The reforms include the establishment of an independent reporting mechanism to receive complaints against bishops, and the development of a Code of Conduct for bishops. Read more...

 

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Policy and Procedure For Investigating Allegations of Sexual Abuse By Clergy Against a Minor

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Preamble:

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:

a. informed of the allegation against him;
b. encouraged to retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel;
c. encouraged to utilize spiritual direction; and

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.
7. If the cleric admits the allegation, the Bishop will consult with the Review Board regarding the appropriate action to be taken. The cleric will be urged to have a medical and psychological evaluation. If it is deemed advisable, he will be urged to participate in a residential treatment program. He will be removed permanently from ministry, and if the case so warrants, dismissed from the clerical state (Canon 1395). The cleric will be informed that he may not wear clerical garb, nor may he present himself publicly as a priest.


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:

a. interview the alleged victim, the parents/guardians if alleged victim is still a minor, the accused cleric and any other persons it deems appropriate to form a judgment regarding the substantiation of the allegations;

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.

a. If the Bishop determines that there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith will be notified and the cleric will be removed from ministry or any ecclesiastical office (Canon 1722).

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.

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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.

 

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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.

In Christ,
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.

 https://www.archgh.org/news-data/latest-news/statement-regarding-fr-manuel-la-rosa-lopez/

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.

En Cristo,

  1. Philip Wilhite, Párroco.

12 de septiembre de 2018.

https://www.archgh.org/news-data/latest-news/statement-regarding-fr-manuel-la-rosa-lopez/