Another Brownsville priest accused of child sexual abuse; SNAP again urges outreach

SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

April 8, 2024

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, has been removed from ministry in the wake of an accusation of child sexual abuse. This is the second cleric in the Diocese, that we know of, to be accused this year. The other clergyman was arrested in February.

At the time of the arrest, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, urged the Bishop to do immediate outreach to beg other victims and witnesses to report to law enforcement. We renew our plea as this second case is being investigated by the Diocesan Review Board.

Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores received notification on March 15th that Msgr. Gustavo Barrera had been accused of a child sex crime. The priest denied the claim, but submitted his resignation and retirement as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, and the Bishop accepted this resignation on March 23rd. However, the accusation was not made public until April 3rd.

In the earlier case, Fr. Fernando Gonzalez Ortega was removed from active ministry by Bishop Daniel E. Flores on February 3, 2024, just one day after the accusations were reported to the Diocese.  Yet these claims were not made public for another 10 days, the same day the cleric’s arraignment was announced in the media.  

Given what we know about child sex crimes, we are convinced there are others out there who may have been hurt by these two men. Most victims come forward between the ages of 50-70, so there is a clear need for Bishop Flores to be proactive. People – particularly witnesses — may be reluctant to come forward but might do so if encouraged by a high-ranking Church official.

We believe the best resolutions to accusations of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions comes from secular investigations of these crimes, as well as by allowing time-barred victims to have their day in court. Parishes, Catholic schools, and even society will become safer when what has been hidden comes out into the light.

CONTACT: Patti Koo, SNAP San Antonio ( 956-648-7385); Zac Zepeda, SNAP San Antonio ( 210-317-7511); Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director (, 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President (, 814- 341-8386) 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is