Texas May Parole Former Worcester Priest Imprisoned for Molestation
By Bronislaus B. Kush
Telegram & Gazette
June 27, 2013
Thomas H. Teczar, the defrocked Worcester priest serving a 50-year sentence in Texas for molesting an 11-year-old boy more than 20 years ago, may be released from prison because of medical problems.
Mr. Teczar, who was also publicly accused of sexually assaulting at least two Central Massachusetts boys, was formally removed from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2011.
Texas prosecutors and victims of Mr. Teczar were informed this week that the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is considering an early parole for the former priest and asked them to provide comments on any such action.
Ordinarily, Mr. Teczar would not be considered for parole until Oct. 23, 2019.
"I don't know how they can possibly consider doing this," said Dallas lawyer Tahira Khan Merritt, who in civil litigation represented eight people allegedly victimized by Mr. Teczar and who was later appointed a special prosecutor in Eastland County, Texas, for Mr. Teczar's criminal case.
She said the recidivism rate for pedophiles is high and wondered how authorities would monitor Mr. Teczar, were he to be released.
Ms. Merritt said Mr. Teczar has been accused of abusing at least 14 boys.
"Teczar has been and is still a danger to children and to the public regardless of where he lives," Ms. Merritt said. "He should not be paroled."
It was unclear whether a public hearing on the parole had already been held, and officials didn't spell out Mr. Teczar's medical difficulties.
The 72-year-old was found guilty of molesting a boy in Ranger, Texas, and was sent to serve out his sentence at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas.
He was convicted on March 7, 2007, of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child.
The victim charged that he was abused by Mr. Teczar when the then-priest was assigned to St. Rita's Church in Ranger.
The victim, who at the time lived across the street from the church rectory, told authorities he was enticed into having sex, by threats and promises that included gifts of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes.
Spokesman Raymond L. Delisle said the Diocese of Worcester had no comment.
"The decision of whether or not to parole him is up to Texas officials," he said.
David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said there are documented accusations of Mr. Teczar sexually assaulting children for nearly 50 years.
"Despite this, he wants to serve only four years of a 50-year sentence," Mr. Clohessy said. "Having a long history of committing crimes without consequence, he cannot be allowed to walk free from the only punishment he has ever received, punishment which keeps him away from children."
He urged Texas officials to recognize that Mr. Teczar's history of sexual violence "overshadows" his case for parole based on alleged medical conditions.
Texas parole officials could not be reached for comment.