Other Priests in Abuse Cases Weren't Fired
Attorney Says It's Unfair to Equate Them with Kos
By Brooks Egerton
Dallas Morning News
July 6, 1997
Even after removing the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos from his parish on suspicion of child molestation, Dallas Catholic officials allowed at least two other men accused of sexually abusing minors to continue serving as priests.
One of them, the Rev. Richard T. Brown, remains on the rolls of the diocese. An abuse allegation forced him to resign three years ago as pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Rockwall, but he resumed nonparish duties elsewhere after undergoing therapy, diocesan attorney Randal Mathis confirmed.
The other priest, the Rev. Patrick Lynch, dropped from sight in 1995 after telling parishioners at Richardson's St. Joseph Catholic Church that he was taking time off to recover from heart trouble. He has since retired, Mr. Mathis said.
Father Brown did not return repeated calls for this story, and Father Lynch could not be located for comment. He is believed to be living in England or his native Ireland, Mr. Mathis said, and has "denied any sexual misconduct."
Mr. Mathis said he didn't know how Father Brown had responded to the allegations against him. The attorney would say little about why Father Brown was allowed to continue acting as a priest and Mr. Kos was not.
"It's not entirely fair to equate any of these individuals," he said.
The revelations bring the number of Dallas-area priests accused of sexual abuse to at least six.
Only the Kos case, filed in 1993, has come to trial.
No civil or criminal charges are pending locally against Father Brown or Father Lynch.
The Kos civil proceeding enters its ninth week Tuesday, with the diocese trying to fend off negligence claims. Mr. Kos has been found liable for a decade of abuse because he never responded to the lawsuit.
Mr. Kos, who was removed in 1992 from St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Ennis, is barred from working as a priest again. He's now using an assumed name as a paralegal in San Diego and is expected to face a criminal trial here later this year.
Father Brown's 1994 departure from Rockwall came nearly a year after a young woman told church leaders that he had abused her in 1981, when she was a girl and he was in Washington, D.C., on a summer study leave.
Mr. Mathis said he wasn't familiar with the Brown investigation but stressed that such undertakings can be time-consuming. He would not allow Bishop Charles V. Grahmann or Vicar General Glenn "Duffy" Gardner to be interviewed.
In a 1995 deposition for the Kos case, the former superintendent of Dallas diocese schools testified that she repeatedly alerted top diocesan officials in the 1980s about Father Brown's behavior but got little help.
Sister Caroleen Hensgen traced her concern back to a report she got at some point after the priest returned from Washington and was serving at Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church in Irving. She said the principal of the church school told her that Father Brown might have been "involved with a young girl . . . not from our school."
From then on, Sister Hensgen testified, she would warn principals to keep Father Brown away from students.
In the late 1980s, she recalled, the principal at St. Philip the Apostle in Pleasant Grove "told me that Father was having the boys over to the rectory to help count the collection."
"I said, 'During school time?'
"And she said, 'Sometimes.'
"I said, 'Absolutely no.' "
Later, the principal "told me that Father had come over and he wanted to set up an office for counseling seventh- and eighth-grade boys. I knew that it had been a little girl before, and I just told her the answer to that was no."
Sister Hensgen said she complained to Bishop Thomas Tschoepe, who's in failing health and hasn't testified at the Kos trial. Before long, she said, Father Brown was transferred to St. Mark the Evangelist in Plano, leading her to lodge more protests and warnings.
Mr. Mathis played down the significance of Sister Hensgen's statements, saying she provided nothing concrete or verifiably improper.
"I don't remember anything in Sister Caroleen's deposition that's alarming," he said. "Churches are rumor mills."
Father Brown - who administered last rites to some of the 137 victims at the scene of the 1985 Delta Air Lines crash at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - now serves at New York and Detroit ministries.
The former American Airlines pilot works "purely with adults," Mr. Mathis said. "He's under continuing medical supervision" since being released from a treatment facility in New England.
Father Brown's accuser has repeatedly been offered counseling - "to bring closure to your traumatic experience," according to a 1995 letter the diocese sent her.
Allegations against Father Lynch date to 1966, when Monsignor Gerald A. Hughes wrote this two-sentence memo:
"Father Patrick Lynch was reported to this office for becoming sexually involved with a student while stationed at St. Pius X Church, Dallas, Texas. This should be kept confidential, but should be a matter of record in view of future appointments."
Mr. Mathis said the current diocesan administration was unaware of the memo until "a victim came forward" amid news coverage of the Kos scandal.
After the man described being abused by Father Lynch in the mid-1960s, church officials searched the priest's personnel file, found the document and paid for the man to get counseling, the attorney said.
Mr. Mathis said too much time had passed to investigate properly or even verify whether the man was the student mentioned in the 1966 memo.
Still, he said, the diocese is committed to providing help for anyone who reports being abused by a priest. That vow was made after the allegations against Mr. Kos surfaced.
The abuse report led to a medical evaluation, which turned up the heart disease and led to Father Lynch's retirement, Mr. Mathis said.
Father Lynch told parishioners a different story in a February 1995 edition of St. Joseph's parish newsletter. He wrote that an arterial blockage was discovered after he "experienced a shortage of breath on long points" in tennis and "called this to the attention of my doctor during a regular physical examination."
Only the one man has made allegations against Father Lynch, Mr. Mathis said.
Sylvia Demarest, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs in the Kos case, said she had referred a second Lynch victim to the diocese for assistance. She would not elaborate.
The first complainant declined to be interviewed for this story, and the second man could not be reached.
At St. Joseph, the man who succeeded Father Lynch said Saturday that the allegations come as a terrible surprise.
There was plenty of grumbling about absences and lack of activity, the Rev. Don Fischer said, but "never, ever, ever" anything like child molestation.
"I am saddened by the accusations," Father Fischer said. "If the community is going through some pain over this, I'd certainly like to help."
At Our Lady of the Lake, some who worked closely with Father Brown said they were shocked to hear about the sexual abuse allegations that led to his removal.
"He doesn't show any kind of penchant for children," said former youth ministry worker Pam Morrow. "A more religious and humble man on the face of the Earth I can't imagine, except maybe the pope."
When Father Brown left Rockwall, she said, he said he would be helping diocese officials launch a grief ministry.
Besides Father Lynch, Father Brown and Mr. Kos, at least three other Dallas-area priests have been accused of molestation:
? Robert J. Peebles Jr., who quit the priesthood a decade ago and has admitted abusing several boys between the late 1970s and mid-1980s. He became an attorney in New Orleans after the diocese helped pay his way through law school. No trial date has been set for a lawsuit against him and the diocese.
? The Rev. William J. Hughes, who's being sued along with the diocese over an allegation that he molested a girl in the 1980s. He has denied wrongdoing. Father Hughes formerly worked as a psychologist and now works for a Dallas-area computer business. He once was stationed with Mr. Kos and Mr. Peebles at All Saints Catholic Church in Far North Dallas.
? The Rev. William Hoover, who was forced to resign in 1995 as pastor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Fort Worth after admitting that he repeatedly abused a 12-year-old parishioner at Oak Cliff's St. James Catholic Church in 1957. After that person came forward, others followed and were offered counseling. Father Hoover died last fall.
Jurors in the Kos trial have been told in detail about the allegations against Mr. Peebles and Mr. Hughes, and they've heard Father Brown mentioned to a lesser degree. They have not heard about Father Lynch or Father Hoover.
Mr. Mathis said he has checked out allegations against a few other priests but turned up nothing solid. Some of the claims are extremely vague or anonymous; others involve priests who are dead or have been gone from the diocese for so long that investigations would be impossible, he said.
"There is not any pending investigation at this time with regard to anybody currently associated with the diocese," the attorney said.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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