Fort Worth Diocese Reports Abuse of Minor

Marshall News Messenger
September 9, 2008

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth says it has recently learned a priest, now dead, sexually abused a minor in 1978 in Decatur.

The Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of the Fort Worth diocese, said in a statement Monday that Father Francis A. Zimmerer allegedly abused an 11-year-old male that year at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Decatur.

The diocese was contacted on Aug. 25 by the spouse of the man, who is now 42. The statement said the diocese determined the 30-year-old allegation was credible and offered the man, who lives out of state, counseling.

Diocese officials said the matter was referred to the diocesan Conduct Review Board and the Decatur Police Department.

Prior to working in Decatur, Zimmerer had worked in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas when Fort Worth was part of the Dallas diocese.

He left Decatur in 1981 and returned to the Benedictine Order's Subicao Abbey and died in Jan. 1983.

September 9, 2008 - 7:51 a.m. Copyright 2008, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.


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