Crime: Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say - PressFrom - US
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CrimeDallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say

23:00  15 may  2019
23:00  15 may  2019 Source:   wfaa.com

Dallas Diocese accused of hiding info in clergy abuse investigation

Dallas Diocese accused of hiding info in clergy abuse investigation Bishop Edward Burns says his diocese is fully cooperating with investigators after Dallas police seized boxes of evidence from three diocese locations . "I stand confident as the bishop of the diocese of Dallas that we're doing what's right," Burns said at a press conference. Burns says his diocese is fully cooperating with investigators after Dallas police seized boxes of evidenc . The investigation began last August after allegations of child abuse against local priest Edmundo Paredes became public. Police now say more victims came out against other priests.

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say© Provided by TEGNA Inc. Sex abuse bombshell as Dallas priest is suspended The investigation into sexual abuse accusations of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas was repeatedly stonewalled by church officials, a search warrant details.

Searches were conducted Wednesday at the diocese, a Catholic church and a warehouse in connection with the sexual abuse allegations.

Investigators in the Dallas child exploitation unit were contacted in February 2018 by the diocese regarding sexual abuse allegations against one of its priests.

Catholic officials said they were investigating accusations against priests and released names of those “credibly accused” in January.

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But, Det. David Clark writes in a search warrant affidavit, “individuals involved in the Dioceses’ vetting process have lost confidence in that process.”

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say© Provided by TEGNA Inc. Sex abuse bombshell as Dallas priest is suspended The search warrant carefully details the police investigation into the local diocese and sexual assault allegations against five priests who have worked in Dallas.

In one case, one of the accused priests was actually asked to investigate himself, records show. And the outside investigators hired by the diocese were initially asked to look into "financial improprieties" by the priests and not sexual abuse allegations.

So far, no priests have been arrested in connection with the sexual assault investigation, and only one currently faces a sexual assault criminal charge.

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Investigators are looking for details on five men: Edmundo Paredes, 70; Richard Thomas Brown, 77; Alejandro Buitrago, 77; William Joseph Hughes, Jr., 63; Jeremy Myers, 62, according to a search warrant affidavit.

A detective with the Dallas child exploitation unit believes the five men committed sexual abuse of a child, the search warrant says.

Paredes fled the country after an arrest warrant was issued in January, authorities said. He is the only priest named in the search warrant who currently faces a criminal charge in the abuse allegations.

Clark writes that when he was assigned to the case he talked to the diocese’s attorney, Bill Sims.

The attorney, according to Clark, said he believed “the victims were in a monetary settlement process and he believed the victims did not want to pursue criminal allegations.”

Incomplete files

The diocese hired a team of six investigators to examine its priests’ files. Dallas police met with Bishop Edward Burns, who “assured” them that there was a process in place to investigate all priest files and that the investigators would be former law enforcement officials.

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“However, Diocesan attorneys only provided police personnel with the names of only one or two of the individuals who would exercise the promised oversight,” Clark writes in the search warrant.

Investigators “requested the number of priests’ files flagged for sexual abuse” but were denied the request by an attorney representing the diocese. The attorney told investigators the information was “privileged.”

“To date, the Dallas Police Department has not been given the number of priests’ files flagged for sexual abuse,” the search warrant says.

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The search warrant also says that investigators were not granted requests to meet with the investigators hired by the Catholic diocese.

Clark points out in the search warrant that the diocese's investigators were initially hired to look into “financial improprieties” involving priests and not sexual assault allegations.

The allegations:

Alejandro Buitrago, 77

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say© Maria Carrillo/Facebook Father Alex Buitrago

Dallas police met with the Diocese’s lawyers on Jan. 16, where Buitrago was named as a “credibly accused priest.” A victim had reported in 2015 that she had been sexually abused by Buitrago. The detective wrote that he received the priest’s file on Feb. 3.

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On Feb. 20, detectives interviewed the victim who said that she and her family were parishioners at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano, where Buitrago was a priest. She told police he “quickly befriended her family after her parents divorced,” the affidavit said.

The victim said she was between five and seven years old when the priest visited her family and her grandmother came to live with them from Peru. Her grandmother became close to the priest and would come visit her grandmother.

She told detectives that Buitrago “sat her on his lap and started kissing her on her mouth,” the affidavit said. “She remembered Buitrago moving her back and forth on his lap.”

The victim said she never told anyone about his incident and that a short time later, her family moved and left the parish.

She told police that in 2015, she contacted Chancellor Edlund “but never heard back with what action, if any, was taken.” Dallas police contacted Plano police and found that the allegation was never investigated and they had no record of Buitrago or the victim in their files.

Jeremy Myers, 62

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say© St Mary's School/Facebook Father Jeremy Myers

Myers is accused of sexually assaulting a student at a Catholic school in the 1980s. At the time, the school's headmaster told Myers he had been accused of abusing a male student, and Myers said he would talk to the alleged victim, the search warrant says.

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When Myers responded to the headmaster, he claimed the victim said "he was lying about any sexual contact between him and Myers," the warrant says.

“I said to Abott Wangler he basically had Myers to investigate his own sexual allegation claim, to which Abott Wangler had no response,” Clark writes.

The alleged victim told Clark he first met Myers while attending Subiaco Catholic School in 1986, where Myers was dean of his dorm during his freshman year. He said Myers “seemed to like him and would come to his defense anytime he got in trouble,” the affidavit said.

He “stated he would start to see some extra privileges the other kids did not receive.” He said Myers allowed him to stay in his room and hang out.

The victim said he was kicked out of the school the sophomore year and moved back home. A short time later, his parents reached out to Myers and the priest agreed to let him come and visit him in Dallas where he was working at that time. The victim said he began living with Myers and said the priest enrolled him in school and rented a duplex for him to live in.

The victim said he would spend the night at the rectory where Myers worked and that while staying with the priest, the priest performed oral sex on him, the affidavit says.

After several months, he moved back home to live with his parents.

William Joseph Hughes Jr., 63

The investigation into Hughes revealed he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor for more than a year.

However, “nowhere in Hughes' 319-page file did it reveal the accusations, reveal the identity of the victim(s), or state the punishment, if any, assessed Hughes,” the search warrant says.

They Hoped the Catholic Church Would Reveal Their Abusers. They Are Still Waiting.

They Hoped the Catholic Church Would Reveal Their Abusers. They Are Still Waiting. ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — She has watched as diocese after diocese has identified Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children. She saw the victims who, after confronting decades of church silence, could edge toward a sense of closure as bishops apologized and publicly named clergy members who abused them. Yet for Janet Cleary Klinger, the silence has continued. She said she had been abused as a teenager by a priest from her family’s parish in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, which sprawls over the suburbs of Long Island. But the Rockville Centre diocese — one of the largest in the country with an estimated 1.

In a lawsuit settled in 1998, Hughes admitted to the sexual abuse.

The dioceses also possessed love letters between Hughes and the sexual abuse victim, but a priest destroyed them.

“I requested an interview with that priest but the request has not been granted,” Clark writes.

The detective also says the diocese’s lawyers “never made any attempt to provide the name of Hughes’ victim.”

Richard Thomas Brown, 77

Brown acknowledges sexually abusing two victims, but his file only names one victim, the warrant says.

A diocese official received an email from a woman who said her niece was sexually assaulted by Brown in the 1980s. The alleged victim met Brown at Holy Family Catholic Church in Irving.

During that time, Brown repeatedly took the girl to his home and “would digitally penetrate her and make her touch his penis,” the warrant says.

The woman reported the abuse to the diocese in 2004, but her accusations were not included in the priest’s file. The diocese’s attorneys later sent an additional 51 pages from Brown’s file to investigators, the warrant says.

Brown is also accused of sexually abusing a girl in 1980 in Washington D.C.

His file shows that in 1994, the priest "admitted during therapy sessions he would become sexually aroused when juvenile girls would sit on his lap,” the warrant says.

The diocese received a report in 2002 that Brown was inappropriately touching at least one daughter of an Illinois family between 1996 and 2001. The priest later called this an "accident."

In 2002, the Diocese was notified that Brown was inappropriately touching the at least one daughter of an Illinois family from 1996-2001. Brown later called this an "accident."

Edmundo Paredes, 70

Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say© WFAA Father Edmundo Paredes,

One male victim reported he was an altar server when he met Paredes in 1991. The victim said Paredes took “him and other altar servers out to eat between masses and bought them things.” He said he was sexually abused from 1991 to 1994 by Paredes, the search warrant says.

Several office staff, parishioners and priests were interviewed by Dallas police. They reported that Paredes was seen taking juveniles into his residence at night and on the weekends.

Clark writes in the search warrant that Dallas diocese officials reported there was a meeting with church members in 2006. The official said Paredes' priest file should contain information on that meeting.

The file had no information regarding the meeting, Clark writes.

Reporters Tanya Eiserer and Charlotte Huffman contributed to this report.

They Hoped the Catholic Church Would Reveal Their Abusers. They Are Still Waiting..
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — She has watched as diocese after diocese has identified Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children. She saw the victims who, after confronting decades of church silence, could edge toward a sense of closure as bishops apologized and publicly named clergy members who abused them. Yet for Janet Cleary Klinger, the silence has continued. She said she had been abused as a teenager by a priest from her family’s parish in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, which sprawls over the suburbs of Long Island. But the Rockville Centre diocese — one of the largest in the country with an estimated 1.

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