Rowlett Priest on Leave after Parishioners Report Inappropriate Touching

By Matthew Haag
The Dallas Morning News
May 21, 2010

A longtime Catholic priest has been placed on leave and is under investigation by Rowlett police after two teenage girls and some parish staff members accused him of touching them inappropriately.

The women told the Catholic Diocese of Dallas that in recent months the Rev. Bob Crisp, a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, had made them feel uncomfortable, giving them lengthy hugs and rubbing his feet against their legs. The hugs and leg rubs took place at the Rowlett church when other parishioners were nearby, said diocese spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor.

"It was never that he took someone off alone," she said. "It always happened in front of other people, whether in a meeting or in a gathering area."

In a statement released through the diocese, Crisp said, "I would like to extend my sincere apology to anyone who was offended by my behavior. I understand that my actions caused discomfort for some and I am truly sorry for this. I appreciate that the diocese has reported this to the authorities so that all parties can feel these concerns are given serious and thoughtful attention.

"I am currently working with a counselor and intend to learn from this experience and develop a much better understanding of personal and professional boundaries," he said.

Bishop Kevin Farrell granted Crisp's request for a six-month leave from the parish in late April.

Crisp, 61, has served as at several North Texas parishes during the past 30 years and has been assigned to Sacred Heart for about a decade.

In a letter to Sacred Heart parishioners earlier this month, Farrell said that Crisp won't return to that church.


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