Federico Fernandez

United Press International
February 19, 1988

The head of the Franciscan Friars confirmed that a San Antonio parish priest has been sent to a facility for evaluation because of allegations he sexually molested two young brothers.

The San Antonio Light reported Friday that Bexar County District Attorney Fred Rodriguez also is investigating whether church officials failed to report child sexual abuse charges against the priest as required by law.

The newspaper reported that Father Robert Karris, provincial of the superior of the Franciscan Friars, confirmed Thursday that allegations have been made against Father Federico Fernandez, a former parish priest at St. Clare's Catholic Church.

Two complaints alleging a parish priest fondled a 16-year-old boy and his 10-year-old brother are expected to be presented to a grand jury in about two weeks.

The priest is accused of molesting the youths last July.

The brothers' parents said church officials asked them to not report the incident to authorities and to keep it quiet so they could investigate it internally.

Homicide Lt. Albert Ortiz said the Texas Department of Human Services notifed police of the accusations in late December after the family filed complaints with the agency.

Attorney Jackson Speed, who is representing the family of the alleged victims, said the Franciscan Friars already have agreed in an out-of-court settlement to pay for all psychological counseling for the youths. However, he did not preclude the possibility of a lawsuit against the archdiocese and the Franciscans.

Karris declined to say where Fernandez is, but police believe he has been sent to a church retreat in New Mexico.


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