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  Priest Held in Incident with Child
Dallas Police Say the Cleric Admitted Fondling a 12-Year-Old Girl

By Tawnell D. Hobbs
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
May 6, 1999

DALLAS - A Roman Catholic priest from Nigeria was being held on $ 50,000 bail yesterday after he admitted to police that he fondled a 12-year-old girl at St. Anthony Catholic Church in south Dallas, police said.

The Rev. Emeh "Anthony" Nwaogu, 53, who has been a priest at the church for 5 1/2 years, was arrested Tuesday and charged with indecency with a child after he admitted touching the girl's breast and genitals Monday, according to a police report.

Nwaogu also faces possible deportation to Nigeria if he is found guilty, said a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service official.

"Our records at this point show that he is not a citizen," said Bill Harrington, the acting district director for the INS. "If there is a conviction, the person would be subject to removal for this type of crime. Our records do not even indicate that he's even applied for immigrant status. " Harrington said Nwaogu entered the United States through Colorado as a student.

The arrest comes a year after the arrest of former Diocese of Dallas priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, who was convicted in 1998 of molesting four boys more than 1,350 times between 1987 and 1992. He is serving a life term in a prison facility at Huntsville.

In the 1980s, two former priests, Robert J. Peebles and William J. Hughes, were accused of molesting children while serving as priests during that decade, and the Diocese of Dallas was ordered to pay $ 5 million in a civil case.

In the Diocese of Fort Worth, the Rev. Philip Magaldi retired in April amid sexual-misconduct allegations after a Massachusetts man said Magaldi abused him about 20 years ago.

Police said that while the girl's mother and another woman were cleaning Nwaogu's residence Monday at the church, the girl became bored and Nwaogu took her upstairs to hook up a video to keep her entertained.

The girl told police that Nwaogu fondled her beneath her clothes and asked her "if that felt good. " When the girl replied "no," Nwaogu stopped touching her and told her, "You know I didn't mean to do that. "

The girl said she went downstairs to her mother and asked to leave the church. Later, she came to her mother, crying, and told her about the incident.

Nwaogu admitted to the girl's mother, when she questioned him, that he had touched the girl, the report said. The mother then left the church and went to call police, but before she could, Nwaogu showed up and tried to talk to her about the incident. After Nwaogu left, she called police to report the incident.

Police said Nwaogu admitted to touching the girl.

Diocese of Dallas spokesman Bronson Havard said there were no signs that Nwaogu would commit such an act.

"We had no reason to suspect," Havard said. "We conduct background checks and gather references from bishops and other people no one has come forward with any adverse remarks. "

Havard said Nwaogu's mental state could be questioned. In the past three years, he has had a stroke and was in a serious car accident, Havard said. This is the first allegation made against Nwaogu, he said.

Nwaogu was being held at Lew Sterrett Justice Center, where he was under suicide watch, sheriff's officials said.

 
 

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