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  4 More Accused Priests Named
A Dallas Attorney Says the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese Should Release the Priests' Complete Files

By Darren Barbee
Fort Worth Star Telegram (Texas)
June 11, 2005

FORT WORTH — The Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese on Friday named the eight priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors since the diocese was founded in 1969.

Four of the names had already been made public through lawsuits, diocese statements and other means. The other four, not previously identified, are the Rev. James Reilly, the Rev. James Hanlon, the Rev. John Howlett and the Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, according to a statement by the diocese.

Tu, a Dominican religious order priest, is the only one of the eight accused clerics still in active ministry. Reached by phone Friday in the Galveston-Houston Diocese, where he works, Tu said the matter is resolved and declined to comment further.

Hanlon died in 1990, and Reilly died in 1999. Howlett, a Pallottine religious order priest, was removed from active ministry several years ago.

Last year, Fort Worth Bishop Joseph Delaney released the number of accused priests as part of a national study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. But he refused to identify them all. In recent months, the diocese had also fought to keep the priests' names and files sealed.

The diocese did not disclose when accusations were made against the priests or how many times each had been accused. In all, 28 accusations of sex abuse have been made against the eight priests, according to the diocese.

In Friday's statement, Delaney said naming the accused clergymen will have the effect of exonerating "the overwhelming majority of priests who have served faithfully throughout their priesthood."

The diocese has offered counseling to those who say they were abused, the statement said.

Releasing the names places Fort Worth among only a few dioceses in the nation that have identified all their accused priests, said David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Nationally, the clergy sex abuse scandal has cost the Catholic Church more than $1 billion and involves accusations against more than 4,000 priests since 1950.

The four Fort Worth Diocese priests previously identified are the Rev. William Hoover, the Rev. Thomas Teczar, the Rev. Philip Magaldi and the Rev. Rudolf Renteria.

Hoover, who admitted sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy, died in 1996. Teczar, who has been out of active ministry since he left the Fort Worth Diocese in 1993, is facing sexual assault charges in Eastland County, where he was a parish priest from 1989 to 1993. He lives in Dudley, Mass.

Magaldi, who pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a Rhode Island church in the mid-1980s, is out of active ministry. He retired after being accused in a 1999 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in Worcester, Mass. Magaldi has said the allegation was false and that his accuser, who has since died, was after money.

Renteria was removed by Delaney in 2002. He was accused of "improper sexual touching" of a 14-year-old boy at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington. According to a previous diocese statement, Renteria was "unable to confirm or deny the incident because of the influence of alcohol."

This spring, the Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News filed a court motion seeking the eight priests' names and files, which were sealed by a judge as part of a lawsuit against the Fort Worth Diocese.

The lawsuit was filed by two men who allege that they were sexually abused by Teczar during the early 1990s in Ranger. Teczar has said he did not abuse the men.

The diocese settled the lawsuit this spring by paying $4.15 million from its insurance and from diocese funds. In addition, the diocese paid $994,000 in legal fees, according to a document parishioners received at Sunday Masses.

An examination of records made public by the lawsuit formed the basis of a Star-Telegram report Sunday about Teczar's past and about Delaney's knowledge of some of Teczar's problems before Teczar came to the Fort Worth Diocese.

Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who represented one of the men who sued the diocese, commended Friday's action. But she also said Delaney is being disingenuous by releasing the names but not the files.

"The readers of the Star-Telegram need to understand that the contents of these records are even more shocking than the facts in the Teczar case," she said.

Delaney, 70, has been the bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese since 1981. He did not attend Friday's news conference because of health problems.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, and though the cancer is now in remission, he remains ill and has limited his workload.

Delaney's statement was read by the Rev. Robert Wilson, chancellor of the diocese, at a news conference Friday at the Catholic Center in Fort Worth.

The statement said the bishop had been struggling with the decision for years.

"After continuing reflection and prayer, however, I have concluded that the interests of those who have been hurt in the past, who are my primary concern, will be best served by the release of the names of the accused, however painful that may be.

"The decision to release the names was made two weeks ago," Wilson said, reading from the statement. "Last Sunday's Star-Telegram article emphasized how necessary this is. My hope is that sharing this information will facilitate the healing process for all who have been hurt."

Jean Frie, coordinator of the Catholic group Fort Worth Voice of the Faithful, said the organization asked for the release of the names more than a year ago. She said that the names should have been released sooner but that now victims can begin to heal.

"There could be people out there thinking they're the only ones," she said.

With the names out in the open, Frie said, the diocese's many innocent priests are no longer blemished.

Clohessy, of SNAP, said about six dioceses have released the names of their accused priests. The United States has more than 190 dioceses.

After the Baltimore Archdiocese released the names, about 60 new people came forward with abuse allegations, Clohessy said. Identifying the priests in the Fort Worth Diocese may have the same effect, said Judy Locke, the diocese's assistance coordinator for the sexually abused.

"We're hoping that this will ... motivate other past victims of these individuals," she said.

Clohessy called the release "a belated but positive step."

But he said he suspects the newspapers' court motion to unseal diocese files on the priests may have forced the bishop's hand.

"Yet another pre-emptive PR move, I'm sorry to say," Clohessy said.

During the past 2 1/2 years, more than 10,000 clergy and church and school employees and volunteers have participated in a diocese education program meant to help prevent sexual abuse of children.

Marc Allen of Arlington, a member of St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church in Arlington, said that the diocese acted properly and that he hopes the decision will help the church progress.

"It's a big step toward showing people that there's nothing that we're trying to hide at this point and this is something that is openly being dealt with," Allen said.

"But now it's the responsibility of society to say, 'We know you've done something wrong, here's the punishment, and now there needs to be forgiveness and healing, and we need to move forward with the mission of the church.' "

Priests' assignments

Below is each priest's dates of service in the Fort Worth Diocese, followed by church, city and duties performed.

The Rev. Philip Anthony Magaldi

* January 1990-March 1992, St. Mary, Henrietta, administrator

* March 1992-July 1993, in prison for embezzlement, Rhode Island

* July 1993-August 1998, St. John the Apostle, Fort Worth, associate pastor

* Incardinated Jan. 30, 1995

* Retired April 19, 1999

The Rev. James Bernard Hanlon

* Ordained June 6, 1981

* June 1981-October 1983, St. Michael, Bedford, associate pastor

* October 1983-June 1986, Holy Family, Fort Worth, associate pastor

* June 1986-July 1987, St. John the Apostle, North Richland Hills, parochial vicar

* July 1987-April 1988, St. Maria Goretti, Arlington, associate pastor

* April 1988-August 1988, St. Patrick, Fort Worth, associate pastor

* August 1988-January 1989, St. Rita et al., Ranger, administrator

* 1989, medical leave

* Died Feb. 17, 1990

The Rev. William Reece Hoover

* Ordained May 28, 1955, Dallas-Fort Worth

* June 1955-June 1957, St. James, Dallas, assistant pastor

* July 1957-September 1960, Holy Cross, Dallas, assistant pastor

* September 1960-January 1962, St. Patrick, Fort Worth, assistant pastor

* January 1962-November 1963, Christ the King, Dallas, resident

* November 1963-February 1964, Blessed Sacrament, Dallas, resident

* February 1964-June 1965, St. Cecilia, Dallas, resident

* July 1965-November 1966, St. Edward, resident

* November 1966-July 1977, St. Thomas, pastor

* July 1977-June 1987, Holy Name, Fort Worth,

* June 1987-July 1995, St. Patrick, Fort Worth, pastor

* Resigned July 2, 1995

* Retired Oct. 1, 1996

* Died Oct. 19, 1996

The Rev. James Joseph Reilly

* Ordained Oct. 14, 1945, Dallas-Fort Worth

* 1945-52, Christ the King, Dallas, assistant pastor

* September 1952-August 1953, Sacred Heart, Wichita Falls, assistant pastor

* August 1953-October 1953, St. George, Fort Worth, resident

* October 1953-February 1954, Sacred Heart, Wichita Falls, assistant

* Feb. 26, 1954-June 1954, I Conception, Denton, pastor

* July 1954, study leave in Villanova, Pa.

* September 1955-September 1956, St. John parish and school, Ennis, assistant pastor and teacher

* August 1956-January 1962, St. Andrew, Laneri High School, Fort Worth, assistant and teacher

* January 1962-June 1964, St. Augustine, Holy Spirit Seminary, Dallas, pastor and instructor

* July 1964-May 1966, Holy Spirit Seminary, rector

* June 1966-October 1967, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Wichita Falls, pastor

* November 1967-September 1987, St. Maria Goretti, Arlington, pastor; Holy Trinity Seminary, instructor

* Retired Oct. 1, 1987

* Died May 2, 1999 The Rev. Rudolf John Renteria

* Ordained Aug. 18, 1979

* September 1979-October 1981, St. Matthew, Arlington, associate pastor

* October 1981-June 1982, Sacred Heart, Wichita Falls, associate pastor

* July 1982-June 1985, Holy Family et al., Vernon, pastor

* July 1985-November 1987, St. Philip the Apostle, Lewisville, pastor

* November 1987-November 1989, hospital ministry, Holy Family, Fort Worth, chaplain, associate pastor, resident

* Dec. 1, 1989, hospital ministry at St. Paul, Dallas, chaplain

* June 29, 2002, removed from ministry

The Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, religious order priest

* September 1975-November 1977, St. Matthew Arlington, Vietnamese community

* December 1977-November 1979, Aquinas Institute, Dubuque, Iowa, study leave

* November 1979-September 1980, St. Michael, Bedford, associate pastor

* September 1980, St. Matthew, Arlington, associate pastor

* August 1993, left St. Matthew

* Reassigned by the Dominican Order

The Rev. John Howlett, religious order priest

* July 1977-July 1984, St. Mary, Graham, pastor

* August 1984-August 1985, St. Brendan, Stephenville, associate pastor

* August 1985, left St. Brendan

* Removed from ministry by the Pallottine Society

The Rev. Thomas Teczar

* December 1967, ordained in the Worcester, Mass., Diocese.

* 1985, placed on leave of absence from the Worcester Diocese after providing wine to a 15-year-old boy, who accused Teczar of sexually assaulting him

* June-July 1988, St. Patrick Cathedral, Fort Worth

* September 1988-August 1989, St. Michael Catholic Church, Bedford, associate pastor

* August 1989-March 1993, St. Rita's, Ranger, pastor

* Jan. 15, 1991, pleaded guilty in Worcester to misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor

* March 1993, resigns from St. Rita's as police investigate sexual abuse allegations

* 1996, sued by a Massachusetts man alleging sexual abuse

* 2002, sued by a second Massachusetts man alleging sexual abuse

* 2003, indicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child in Eastland County. Two men sue Teczar and the Fort Worth Diocese. Sued by a third Massachusetts man alleging sexual abuse.

* 2005, the Fort Worth Diocese agrees to pay $4.1 million to settle two lawsuits

 
 

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