Seminary Candidate Augusti Huerres
Dallas Morning News
December 4, 2004
LAW ENFORCEMENT CASE STUDY #1
Police in the West Texas city of San Angelo didn’t investigate after Mr. Huerres was accused in 2000 of pulling down a 15-year-old boy’s pants, touching his buttocks and taking his underwear. One day after the teen complained, local prosecutor J. Bryan Clayton cut a deal with church officials under which Mr. Huerres — who had admitted the misconduct to his superiors — was immediately flown home to Spain.
Mr. Huerres, 34, lives with relatives in his native Barcelona. He told The News he is unemployed and not associated with the church. He acknowledged the misconduct in Texas.
San Angelo Diocese officials brought him to Texas in 1999 despite a negative recommendation from his pastor in Spain. They also did not check with a religious order that he had left. While he waited to start seminary classes, Mr. Huerres was stationed temporarily at a parish, where the incident with the boy occurred. The victim’s family, summoned to a meeting with the prosecutor and three diocesan representatives, agreed not to press charges. Their attorney says they did so in part because their pastor was present and endorsed the deal.
JUSTICE OFFICIALS SAY
Mr. Clayton, who was the main child-abuse prosecutor for Tom Green County, said he did not have enough evidence to charge Mr. Huerres with more than misdemeanor assault, for which the maximum penalty is a $500 fine. He praised leaders of the San Angelo Diocese, of which he is a member, saying that they wanted to keep Mr. Huerres from becoming a priest and “get him out of the country.” The departure happened so quickly that police Detective David Newsom said he didn’t get to question the suspect, as he ordinarily would want to do. “There could have been more” to the case than the boy and Mr. Huerres initially disclosed, the detective speculated.
CHURCH OFFICIALS SAY
They denied any wrongdoing but paid what they called a “relatively modest” sum to settle a lawsuit that accused them of negligence. Diocesan attorney Louis Fohn said they met with the prosecutor to ensure “that by allowing [Mr. Huerres] to leave the country we would not be obstructing justice.”
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