FORT WORTH (TX)
CBS News [New York NY]
June 7, 2023
By Jason Allen
ARLINGTON (CBSNewsTexas.com) – Investigators from the Arlington Police Department visited a monastery Wednesday morning to speak with the nuns involved in a bitter dispute with the Bishop of Fort Worth.
The conversation was focused on the facts of the initial confrontation with Bishop Michael Olson in April, and his demand for the computers and phone used by the Carmelite nuns, according to their civil attorney Matthew Bobo.
Bobo said he understood the Tarrant County Sheriffs Department may also be looking at the situation, but a spokesman there Wednesday said Arlington was the lead on any potential case.
No criminal charges have been filed or recommended, however the meeting is the first time police have become involved in the public clash between the two religious entities. A third-party sent a letter to Arlington police chief Al Jones, asking him to look into the situation.
After taking the electronic devices, Olson and a church attorney he appointed to represent the nuns later arranged an agreement to return them, after making copies of the data. The agreement was that it would only be used in an investigation into the Reverend Mother Teresa Agnes Gerlach breaking her vow of chastity with a priest. Olson concluded his investigation last week, finding Gerlach guilty of the accusation, but Bobo said the Diocese still has the data belonging to his clients.
A priest did visit the monastery Wednesday, Bobo said, to resume daily Mass for the nuns. Olson had cut off the daily services during his investigation. A security officer accompanied the priest, Bobo said, with a letter that he was there to act as an altar server, and threatening the dismissal of the Sister no in charge if she would not admit him. She admitted him with the priest. Parishioners are still not admitted to the daily services which they commonly attended before the dispute began.
Jason, a Southern California native, came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four years in Orlando. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and then began his career as a producer/reporter at Primary Focus. Jason went on to work as a reporter/anchor at KTWO-TV in Casper, Wyoming, and later as a reporter at WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin.