Priest Indicted in Sex-Abuse Case

By J. Michael Parker
The Express-News
February 3, 1994

St. Anthony's students accuse ex-seminary teacher

A Roman Catholic priest who was removed from a seminary teaching post last month has been indicted by a Bexar County grand jury on charges of sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.

The indictment returned Wednesday charged the Rev. Carlos Lozano, 37, with one count of sexual assault and three of indecency, District Attorney Steve Hilbig said.

Each count is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, he said. Recommended bond on each charge is $10,000.

Lozano, dean of men for the past year at St. Anthony's High School Seminary at 3200 McCullough Ave. was placed on administrative leave Dec. 17, the same day four students at the school told police a spiritual adviser at the school had fondled their genitals on several occasions during the past year, according to police reports.

One also reported having oral sex with the priest, the reports said.

Two complainants are 17 years old and the other two are 16 years old, the reports indicate.

Lozano was receiving counseling at an undisclosed retreat center outside Bexar County, said officials of the southern U.S. province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate religious order.

Hilbig confirmed late Wednesday that a warrant has been issued for Lozano's arrest. Other sources said Lozano was expected in court Thursday to answer the charges.

The Oblate province, which has about 180 priests and brothers, operates St. Anthony's as a preparatory school for boys considering vocations to the priesthood or religious life.

A Kingsville native, Lozano was ordained last year.

An Oblate brother before his priestly ordination, Lozano served as a dormitory proctor, taught computer science and had been in charge of music during his two years at the 114-student school, St. Anthony's officials said.

"This has caused grave concern and sadness, not only to the Oblates but also to the students and faculty of St. Anthony's and their families," said the Rev. Eugene Canas, provincial superior of the Oblates, in a prepared statement.

Canas said the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services was notified immediately of the allegations and "every effort has been made to cooperate with them and the law enforcement authorities."

"Moreover, our priority has been to make counseling available to the students and their families as well as to anyone at St. Anthony's whose life may have been impacted by these allegations," he said.

The allegations are the first involving an Oblate priest in San Antonio, officials of the order said.

A Franciscan priest, the Rev. Federico Fernandez, was removed from his parish in 1988 after he was accused of molesting two brothers.

The criminal charges against Fernandez were dropped when attorneys for the victims said a trial would be too traumatic for them.

Dismissal of the criminal cases came after a civil suit filed by the victims' family was settled out of court and the settlement sealed by judicial order despite efforts by the San Antonio Express-News to have it made public.

Two Archdiocese of San Antonio priests have allegations of sexual misconduct pending against them.

The Rev. Javier Ortiz Dietz was indicted last year on charges of aggravated sexual assault on a child and indecency with a child.

He is free on $100,000 bond while awaiting trial scheduled March 28 before District Judge Sharon MacRae and also is receiving counseling.

Uvalde authorities are investigating sexual misconduct charges involving a teen-age girl against the Rev. Johnny Davila, who was removed last month as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Uvalde.

Both the archdiocese and the Oblates have had policies for several years requiring immediate removal of the priest from ministry pending investigation of the allegations and immediate reporting of the allegations to the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and local law enforcement authorities.

If the allegations are found to be true, the policies require permanent suspension of the priest.

Virtually all 188 U.S. dioceses and many religious orders, including the Oblates, have such policies, and a national bishops' committee is now available to help individual dioceses respond properly to such allegations.

Several Texas bishops said the church's record in handling clergy sexual abuse cases has improved dramatically in the past five years as both the church and society in general have learned much more about the nature and seriousness of sexual abuse.

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