Corpus Christi priests accused of credible abuse file appeal in defamation case

The Caller Times

January 28, 2020

By Alexandria Rodriguez

A lawyer is arguing retired Corpus Christi priests were wrongly included in a list of clergy “credibly accused of sexual abuse,” especially when one was exonerated multiple times.

In an Appellants’ brief submitted Monday to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, attorney Andrew M. Greenwell argues retired priests Michael Heras and John Feminelli were included in a Diocese of Corpus Christi list of priests “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.”

The list, which was also released in every Texas Catholic diocese, was made public in January 2019.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi includes Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio counties and some of McCullen County.

Feminelli and Heras have repeatedly denied they have sexually abused minors, the document states.

Both priests filed defamation lawsuits against Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi after the list was released. The lawsuits were consolidated and were later dismissed by Texas District Judge David Stith in August. Greenwell later filed a notice to appeal on priests’ behalf.

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