Archdiocese Of San Antonio Releases Report On Child Sexual Abuse By Clergy | Texas Public Radio

Archdiocese Of San Antonio Releases Report On Child Sexual Abuse By Clergy

Jan 31, 2019

Updated 4:45 p.m.

A report released Thursday by the San Antonio Archdiocese names 55 members of the clergy who have been “credibly” accused of sexual abuse since 1940.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller expressed remorse during a news conference Thursday at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

READReport on Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy in the Archdiocese of San Antonio

“Allegations of sexual misconduct by bishops is tearing this church apart,” he said. “And the challenge for us as a church is to renew our commitment to holiness and justice.”

Garcia-Siller said all but one of the accused were priests, who have either been removed from the clergy and/or prosecuted by law.

“We began last fall to compile a comprehensive list of those priests and deacons who have credible allegations of sexually abusing children,” he said, “and this announcement does not bring an end to that process. … We know there is still significant work to be done.”

WATCHArchbishop Gustavo García-Siller addresses the Archdiocese of San Antonio

The non-priest was James Orr, a deacon, who was removed from the ministry in 2017 and died in 2019.

The report said the diocese is currently investigating one allegation made against a living priest and one allegation against a priest, who had died. 

“The archdiocese is profoundly aware that this report will cause some further grief to survivors of clergy sexual abuse as minors,” Garcia-Siller said. “... We pray that this report will indeed assist survivors who have not felt attended to or ignored by family of the church. It is our hope they will find peace.”

The largest number of allegations — 15 — occurred between 1970 and 1979. The report lists no credible allegations from 2010 to 2019.

While Garcia-Siller said the church will continue to investigate all claims, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement that it's not as simple for law enforcement.

“Like any other crime, these allegations have to be investigated by a law enforcement agency,” he said. “... Once that happens, then the case gets filed with our office. What’s important to note is that every crime has a statute of limitations — that is a period after which you may not be able to prosecute, especially when it comes to sexual assaults against children.”

Under current law, Gonzales said anything that occurred prior to September of 1987 cannot be prosecuted.

“Our hands are tied if the law says that their cases are beyond the statute of limitations,” he said. “I would hope that those individuals would avail themselves of counseling and do what they need to do to feel some closure.”

Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
Credit Brian Kirkpatrick / Texas Public Radio

Fifteen Texas Catholic dioceses, covering 1,320 parishes throughout the state, released similar reports. There were 286 names statewide, which represents one of the largest collection of names released since a grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania.

TPR's Brian Kirkpatrick contributed to this report

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Vince Kong can be reached at vince@tpr.org or on Twitter @teamvincek

 

NOTE: The Archdiocese of San Antonio issued a correction for its report. Charles Miller, who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, was missing from page 11, which lists names from 1980 to 1989.