about the Accused Priests
Dallas Morning News [Fort Worth TX]
November 29, 2006
Here are details from church files unsealed Tuesday about seven priests accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate touching. All the records deal with complaints made to church officials during the tenure of Bishop Joseph Delaney, who died last year. There is no sign that police were notified about any of the priests. To read more of the court documents, go to DallasNews.com.
The Rev. Philip Magaldi
Initial allegation: He offered dinner and drinks to an 18-year-old who came to him for confession in 1995, hugged him, groped his buttocks, kissed him and paid him to administer enemas.
Where he worked then: St. John the Apostle, North Richland Hills
When reported: 1997
Priest's response then: Father Magaldi denied abusing the young man but admitted paying for the enemas, saying he needed help with a medical condition.
Diocesan response: Church investigators found the priest "guilty of sexual exploitation" and recommended that he be ordered to do volunteer work. Bishop Delaney left him at St. John and barred him from supervising altar boys – but, as previously reported, let him continue as chaplain of the diocesan Boy Scouts program.
What happened next: In 1998, a Massachusetts man said that Father Magaldi, while a priest in Rhode Island in the 1970s, had abused him for years, sometimes with enemas. The priest denied ever meeting the accuser. Bishop Delaney told the priest he had to remove him from ministry while investigating. But Father Magaldi kept working until 1999, when the Massachusetts man threatened to sue. After a suspension and the death of the accuser, he returned to part-time ministry. The priest was accused of misconduct with boys at his new job and removed again.
The priest today: He was allowed to continue his ministry at a retirement home until August 2006, when new Bishop Kevin Vann revoked all his priestly powers. Father Magaldi said Tuesday that he has defied the bishop's orders and remains in ministry at the home.
The Rev. Joseph Tu
Initial allegation: He separately put two grade-school-age sisters on his lap in the late 1970s, behind closed doors, and kissed them.
Where he worked then: St. Matthew Church, Arlington
When reported: 1993
Priest's response then: "He has persisted in denying that he has ever done anything improper," Bishop Delaney wrote.
Diocesan response: Church investigators said "that the incident(s) can accurately be described as pedophilia. ... Father Tu [should] be sent to long-term inpatient treatment ... to assist him in breaking his denial." If he ever returned to duty, "it would have to be under close supervision, [with] restrictions about seeing women or children alone."
What happened next: The priest spent several months at a church-run treatment center in New Mexico. An official in Father Tu's religious order, the Dominicans, told Bishop Delaney that the priest's diagnosis was mere "sexual immaturity," not pedophilia. The bishop welcomed the priest back, but the Dominicans moved him to the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. After U.S. bishops agreed in 2002 that even one child-abuse case permanently disqualified a priest from ministry, Bishop Delaney told Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza that the 1993 allegations were never proven. "I am not at all sure that there is a problem with Father Tu's continuing to exercise ministry," Bishop Delaney wrote. Father Tu remained on duty until February 2006, when he was suspended after other women said he had abused them when they were girls or young adults. Archdiocesan and Dominican officials previously insisted that he had been cleared of sexually abusing children; one of the priest's attorneys said the alleged kissing didn't amount to abuse.
The priest today: He lives at Holy Rosary Church in Houston and did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. His face still appears on the parish Web site, but Holy Rosary's pastor, the Rev. Joseph Konkel, said that Father Tu is retired and has no public ministry.
The Rev. Rudolf "Rudy" Renteria
Initial allegation: He took a 14-year-old parishioner to bed in 1981 and fondled him.
Where he worked then: St. Matthew Church, Arlington
When reported: Immediately
Priest's response then: Father Renteria told the boy's father he might "have done something in his sleep that he didn't remember," according to a memo that Bishop Delaney wrote.
Diocesan response: The bishop transferred Father Renteria to Vernon, a small town near the Oklahoma border. His memo said he acted after consulting with three priests – including the Rev. Robert Wilson and the Rev. Joseph Schumacher, who served as his top aides for many years.
What happened next: By 1985, Father Renteria had been moved to St. Philip Church in Lewisville. "Disruptive behavior and alcohol abuse" there led the bishop to send him to a clergy treatment center in Canada, diocese officials previously said. The priest returned to Texas and worked as a hospital chaplain. In 2000, a former Lewisville parishioner told church officials that Father Renteria once got him drunk, fondled him and tried to have anal sex. Diocesan investigators confronted Father Renteria, who "did not deny it" and said he sometimes had alcohol-related blackouts in Lewisville. The investigators, noting that the accuser was 18 at the time of the incident, concluded that "RR poses no threat to anyone as long as he does not drink" and should keep his chaplain's job at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas. Dallas Bishops Charles Grahmann and Joseph Galante – consulted because of the hospital's location – agreed. Father Renteria stayed on duty until 2002, when U.S. bishops adopted their "zero tolerance" discipline rules and the initial victim's father reminded Bishop Delaney of the 1981 incident. The bishop then permanently removed Father Renteria from ministry and wrote in a private memo that the priest "was very contrite about his past offenses, which he admitted freely." A news release announcing the removal didn't mention this admission, though it did quote the bishop as saying he regretted "that I did not act more firmly and decisively" in 1981.
The priest today: He owns a home in northwest Dallas and did not respond to a request for comment. Diocese officials did not answer questions Tuesday about whether they monitor him or what he does for a living.
The Rev. John Howlett
Initial allegation: He repeatedly fondled two grade-school-age sisters in the early to mid-1980s.
Where he worked then: St. Mary Church, Graham, Texas
When reported: Around 1984
Priest's response then: Church records don't say. The girls' mother recalled that she confronted him in the early to mid-1980s and that "he did not deny it."
Diocesan response: Bishop Delaney transferred Father Howlett to St. Brendan in Stephenville, Texas, where he spent about a year. The records released Tuesday don't say why he left or where he went next.
What happened next: In 1993, the mother told church officials that her daughters were now troubled young adults who needed counseling. The diocese and the priest's Pallottine order began paying for it. An order official wrote the diocese about his desire for informal dealings with the family: "I have a great reluctance to have attorneys publicly involved pending the expiration of the statute of limitations" – the point beyond which charges cannot be filed. Father Wilson, who was Bishop Delaney's chancellor, responded: "I think that you are doing a fine job on this." Since 1999, three more women have told the diocese that Father Howlett abused them repeatedly when they were girls. Church officials found them credible and offered to pay for counseling.
The priest today: He lives at a Pallottine residence in Dublin, Ireland, and could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Order officials say he is permanently barred from ministry and from unsupervised contact with the public, to ensure that he has no "adverse effect upon the general public health or safety."
The Rev. James Reilly
Initial allegation: In the late 1970s, he hugged, French-kissed and tried to disrobe at least three boys in their midteens.
Where he worked then: St. Maria Goretti, Arlington
When reported: 1994
Priest's response then: "He insisted he had never done anything improper," Bishop Delaney wrote. But two accusers told church officials that they had confronted Monsignor Reilly around 1980 and that he had apologized and promised to stop his abuses.
Diocesan response: Bishop Delaney apologized to the initial accuser and told him that he had previously "heard an allusion" to similar complaints. But the bishop told the Philadelphia Archdiocese – where Monsignor Reilly was living at a church – that he didn't think "that JR was a threat to anyone." Philadelphia let the priest stay until his death in 1999.
What happened next: Since the late 1990s, several more men have told the diocese that the priest abused them when they were boys. Father Wilson, the former chancellor, told one accuser "that we knew of no other similar incidents with minors." In a subsequent memo, he said he had forgotten about the 1994 complaints. Eleven of Monsignor Reilly's accusers sued the Fort Worth Diocese, which agreed last week to pay them a total of more than $1 million. The diocese also apologized and agreed to remove the priest's name from all diocesan buildings and plaques.
The Rev. William Hoover
Initial allegation: In the mid-to-late 1950s, he masturbated a boy who was about 12 on church camping trips and behind the altar.
Where the priest worked: St. James Church, Dallas
When reported: 1995
Priest's response then: He said there were three victims, according to a memo from Bishop Delaney. Father Hoover also said that the late Dallas Bishop Thomas Gorman learned of the abuse in the 1950s and transferred him to Fort Worth, which was then part of the Dallas Diocese.
Diocesan response: Father Hoover had to resign as pastor of St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth and was sent to a treatment center. The bishop told the public that he had admitted abusing only one boy. "When a complaint of this nature is found to be true, the care of the Catholic community requires that a full disclosure be made," he said. Bishop Delaney told the priest's colleagues that he hoped to return him to ministry, saying that "my trust in his integrity is not diminished by learning of a mistake he made a long time ago."
What happened next: Several more men soon said Father Hoover had abused them in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 1996. Fort Worth church officials offered to pay for victims' counseling and privately criticized the Dallas Diocese's practice of paying cash settlements. "The odor of extorsion [sic] and cover-up is too strong!" Bishop Delaney wrote in a memo.
The Rev. James Hanlon
Allegation: In the early 1980s, he fondled a teenage boy who was hospitalized and coming out of anesthesia. On another occasion, he got the boy drunk, disrobed him and ejaculated on him.
Where he worked then: St. Michael Church, Bedford, and Holy Family Church, Fort Worth
When reported: 1997
Priest's response then: None; he died in 1990 at age 38, after battling alcoholism, cirrhosis and HIV.
Diocesan response: Church officials questioned parts of the accuser's story, but Bishop Delaney referred to him in a memo as "a sexual abuse victim of Father James Hanlon." The diocese paid for his counseling and a $12,500 out-of-court settlement.
What happened next: The records reflect no further complaints about the priest.
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