Former Huntsville priest among names in clergy abuse disclosure

The Item [Huntsville TX]

January 31, 2019

By Josh Criswell & Joseph Brown

A disclosure on Thursday of clergy sexual abuse accusations from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has hit home in Huntsville.

Moises Cabrera — who for a period of time between the years 1985 and 1988, served as a priest at St. Thomas the Apostle — was among 42 individuals named in the report. The Huntsville church was one of six parishes in which Cabrera served over this three-year span. He was removed from ministry in 1988, but began serving in Manila, Philippines in 1994.

An official for St. Thomas the Apostle refused to comment and would not provide the dates of Cabrera’s service in Huntsville.

According to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston website, “the list contains the names of priests about whom the archdiocese has received credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.” The allegations encompass nearly a 70-year span, from 1950 through the end of 2018. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was one of 14 diocese in Texas to identify a total of 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children.

“The Bishops of Texas have decided to release the names of these priests at this time because it is right and just and to offer healing and hope to those who have suffered,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, said in a statement. “On behalf of all who have failed in this regard, I offer my sincerest apology. Our church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it.”

The move by Texas church leaders follows a Pennsylvania report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 “predator priests.” Furthermore, the Illinois attorney general reported last month that at least 500 Catholic clergy in the state had sexually abused children.

In the months following that report, about 50 dioceses and religious provinces have released the names of nearly 1,250 priests and others accused of abuse. Approximately 60 percent of them have died. Roughly 30 other dioceses are investigating or have promised to release names of credibly accused priests in the coming months.

“Our office stands ready to assist local law enforcement and any district attorney’s office that asks for our help in dismantling this form of evil and removing the threat of those who threaten Texas children,” Marc Rylander, spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office, told The Associated Press. “To date, we have not received any such requests, but we are ready to provide assistance to local prosecutors in accordance with state law and original criminal jurisdiction.”

DiNardo is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is expected to attend a February summit called by Pope Francis to sensitize church leaders around the globe to the pain of victims, instruct them how to investigate cases and develop general protocols for church hierarchy to use.

“The crime of sexual abuse of minors is a grave crisis in the church,” DiNardo said. “These sins have done great harm to the victims of the abuse and have deeply wounded the body of Christ, the church. Those victimized by clergy over the years need and deserve our prayers, outreach and support. … In multiple incidents over the years, the church and her ministers failed to protect the most vulnerable souls entrusted to our care.”

Victim advocates and those who have been tracking clergy abuse for decades have said the church has a bad record of policing itself, and that law enforcement investigations into church records of allegations are the only way to ensure real transparency. They argue that there is “no uniform definition of credibly accused priests,” while dioceses use different standards when deciding which names to release.

In addition to Huntsville, alleged abuse was disclosed regarding priests that served in nearby Conroe, Trinity and Navasota.

Among those listed was Manuel La Rosa Lopez, who was brought up on charges late last year for sexually abusing children in Conroe from the 1990s to the early 2000s. According to a report from KTRX in Houston, Lopez was accused of sexual misconduct on multiple occasions. One female victim reported him to the church in 2001, which caused him to be admitted to the Shalom Recovery Center in Montgomery County.

The church reassigned Lopez to St. John Fisher in Richmond in 2004. The female accuser then moved back to the area and reported her previous abuse again to the church upon realizing Father Manuel was still working. The female and another accuser filed reports with the Conroe Police Department in August 2018, and at least four potential victims have been identified.

Alphonse Rodrigue Hemond, who died in 1990, was also on the list of accused abusers, with stints at Most Holy Trinity in Trinity and St. Francis of the Tejas in Crockett. Richard Edelin, a former priest at Sacred Heart in Conroe, is also among the accused.

“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is committed to transparency and accountability for the actions of its ministers,” DiNardo said. “It is my sincere hope that the publication of the names and credibly accused clergy will be a step forward to healing for those who have suffered in the wake of such actions. We humbly pledge to accompany them on the journey to wholeness and pray that God may bring them an awareness of his loving compassion.”

David Warren with the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Below is information on accused priests that have served in Huntsville and surrounding areas:

Moises Cabrera

Diocesan: Tuguegarao, Philippines

Incardinated Galveston-Houston 1985

Incardinated Manila 1994

Birth Year: 1946

Ordained: 1969

Status: Removed from ministry 1988


Prince of Peace, Houston

St. Ambrose, Houston

St. Augustine, Houston

St. Michael, Houston

St. Rose of Lima, Houston

St. Thomas the Apostle, Huntsville

Richard Edelin

Diocesan: Galveston-Houston

Birth Year: 1953

Ordained: 1979

Status: Removed from public ministry 2013


Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston

Sacred Heart, Conroe

Sacred Heart, Pattison

St. Francis de Sales, Houston

St. John Vianney, Houston

St. Thomas More, Houston

Alphonse Rodrigue Hemond

Religious: La Salette Fathers

Incardinated Galveston-Houston 1986

Birth Year: 1916

Ordained: 1949

Status: Retired 1990

Deceased 1990


Christ the King, Houston

Most Holy Trinity, Trinity

Our Lady of Lourdes, Hitchcock

Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston

St. Dominic, Houston

St. Francis of the Tejas, Crockett

St. John, Hungerford

St. Joseph, Brazoria

St. Mary, Cleveland

George Patrick Dougherty

Diocesan: Galveston-Houston

Birth Year: 1925

Ordained: 1967

Status: Removed from ministry 1996

Deceased 2002


Christ the King, Houston

Notre Dame, Houston

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, Navasota

Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston

Sacred Heart, Palestine

St. Augustine, Houston

St. Jerome, Houston

St. Patrick, Navasota

Fernando Noe Guzman

Diocesan: Morelia, Mexico

Birth Year: 1951

Ordained: 1979

Status: Removed from ministry 1987


Our Lady of Fatima, Galena Park

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Navasota

St. Patrick, Navasota

Manuel La Rosa Lopez (Criminal charges pending)

Diocesan: Galveston-Houston

Birth Year: 1957

Ordination: 1996

Status: Removed from ministry 2001, 2018


Sacred Heart, Conroe

St. Francis de Sales, Houston

St. John Fisher, Richmond