Priest Accuses Fort Worth Diocese of Hiding Abuse

The Associated Press, caaried in Fort Worth Star-Telegram
February 16, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas - A former church lawyer said his review of Fort Worth Catholic Diocese records revealed that church officials shielded eight priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Roman Catholic priest, filed the sworn statement Wednesday in state district court as part of legal efforts to unseal diocese files on seven priests accused of sexual misconduct.

Doyle's statement also accused the diocese of not reporting victims' allegations to police and reassigning "known abusers."

"The Fort Worth Diocese has engaged in the patterned cover-up of clergy abuse by these eight priests," said Doyle, a critic of the church's handling of the national clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Doyle's statement was filed along with statements from eight alleged victims and another expert. A hearing is set for next week to determine whether the files should be opened, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on its Web site Wednesday.

A Fort Worth Diocese official declined comment to the Star-Telegram on Wednesday regarding Doyle's sworn statement.

The diocese last year released the names of eight priests accused of sexually abusing minors since the diocese was founded in 1969.

Doyle is one of only a few people outside the diocese to view the priests' files. Diocese officials want to keep the files confidential.

Doyle gained access to the files when he was hired by a Dallas lawyer last year to review them as part of the case against a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Two men accused the Rev. Thomas Teczar of abusing them in Ranger when they were boys in the 1990s. The diocese settled the case out of court last year for $4.15 million, but denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Teczar maintained his innocence.

Doyle previously served as a church lawyer for the Vatican in the United States. He has testified in sexual abuse cases against Catholic priests and bishops around the country.

The priests whose files are being sought are the Rev. James Reilly, the Rev. James Hanlon, the Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, the Rev. John Howlett, the Rev. William Hoover, the Rev. Philip Magaldi and the Rev. Rudolf Renteria.


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