Cameron County DA’s office investigating McAllen priest accused of sexual misconduct


April 20, 2024

By Mark Reagan

The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into a McAllen priest who resigned after the Diocese of Brownsville on April 3 issued a statement that it had received an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against the priest.

In a Friday afternoon statement, the DA’s office said that on April 4, another person contacted that office and also raised an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Monsignor Gustavo Barrera.

“The allegation is under investigation by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office,” the statement reads.

This is the DA’s office’s first public comment on the allegations against Barrera, who formerly served at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen.

Attorneys representing Barrera previously released a lengthy statement denying the first sexual misconduct allegation, which reportedly occurred 35 years ago.

A timeline on the second allegation was not released.

The district attorney’s office did not say in the statement whether it was investigating the first allegation.

In the statement, Barrera’s attorneys also alleged he was slandered because the allegation was quickly made public.

They also say he was stripped of his priestly duties before he had an opportunity to learn of the allegations, to prepare or present a defense, adding that “Priests are entitled to due process.”

They also contend that Barrera will not be subject to criminal prosecution due to the statute of limitations, adding that his prosecution “would be not only wrong, but illegal.”

Barrera is the second priest from the Diocese of Brownsville to be removed this year.

In February, Fernando Gonzalez Ortega was removed from St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Brownsville after an individual, who is now an adult, spoke to the diocesan victim’s assistance coordinator.

He was arrested and charged with continuing sexual abuse of a child, continuous trafficking of persons, trafficking of persons, sexual assault of a child and sexual performance of a child.