Diocese Tells Police of Abuse

By Terry Lee Goodrich
Star-Telegram [Fort Worth TX]
January 10, 2007

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth has reported to police a 38-year-old woman's allegations of abuse by a priest who is a former pastor of churches in Bedford and Arlington, diocese officials said Wednesday.

"We filed a complaint and advised her to do so," said Vicar General Michael Olson, overseer of the Conduct Review Board. The board will meet Jan. 18 to review the woman's allegations and make a recommendation to Bishop Kevin Vann on what the church should do.

Diocese officials would not reveal the name of the woman, who reported that she was abused as a pre-teen in the late 1970s by the Rev. Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, former pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford and St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington.

Attempts to reach Tu through his order, the Southern Dominican Province of Metairie, La., were referred to the order's legal counsel, Regina Wedig, who said she had no information about the allegations.

The woman contacted diocese officials with her complaint Dec. 14, and they reported it to police Dec. 15, said Judy Locke, the diocese's victims assistance coordinator.

Euless Police Lt. Wayne Pavlik, commander of criminal investigations, said the statute of limitations prohibits prosecution of the case. He said that people who wish to make allegations about an incident that occurred when they were minors have 10 years to do so after they turn 18, according to Texas law.

Pavlik said he hopes the woman will contact police.

"Even if we can't investigate because of the statute of limitations, we can try to assist her," perhaps by linking her to a victims' assistance program, Pavlik said.

The Dominican Order removed Tu from active ministry in Houston last year after other complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Terry Lee Goodrich, 817-685-3812

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