November 17, 2020
By Nicole Hensley
Former priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, whose case surfaced amid a revitalized look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of child sex abuse, on Tuesday accepted a plea deal after facing five counts of indecency with a child, officials said.
The Houston-area cleric, charged in 2018, was accused of molesting three children at a Conroe church from 1998 to 2000. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges involving one male and female victim and will be sentenced in December to a decade in prison, said Nancy Hebert, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor.
Lesser felony charges stemming from a second male accuser — who said La Rosa-Lopez exposed his genitals in a confessional booth — would be dismissed, she said.
La Rosa-Lopez, who was slated to go to trial in January and had recently been considering the plea deal, Hebert said. He decided this week to accept the offer.
“It wasn’t an easy thing for him to do,” La Rosa-Lopez’s lawyer, Wendell Odom, said. “He didn’t deny kissing one of the complainants and embracing the other. The question in his mind was if it was done with pure intentions .”
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