January 31, 2019
By Brittany Glas
Assaulted and held captive in the confessional. For devout members of the Catholic Church, it’s something that is difficult to imagine. Isolated, scared and terrified. These are only a few of the ways one woman says she felt when she alleges an assault took place at St. Thomas More in Northwest Austin, located at 10205 N. Farm to Market Road 620.
“The confessional is a sacred space to Catholics where we experience God’s love and His mercy,” the woman explained. “All of that was taken away from me.”
She continued, “You’re already in a vulnerable position when you are in the confessional. As a predator, he took advantage of that vulnerability.”
The woman says within the last five years, Father Isidore Ndagizimana, known as “Father Izzy,” touched her inappropriately during confession and then wouldn’t let her leave.
Terrified and uncertain of what she should do, the woman never called police to report what happened. She told herself she didn’t have to — she says leadership at the parish and the Diocese of Austin assured her they were taking care of the priest and this issue. After all, she says this wasn’t the first complaint they’d received regarding Father Izzy. She trusted the diocese and the church.
“We fully expected to have their full support of us and when that didn’t happen, it was alarming to all of us,” she said.
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