Four Men File Two Lawsuits Claiming Abuse by Priests

Associated Press, carried in Houston Chronicle
April 4, 2007

Fort Worth, Texas — Four men filed two separate lawsuits against two former priests and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, claiming they were sexually abused nearly 20 years ago.

Three of the men say they were raped or molested at the rectory and one in the bathroom of St. Rita Catholic Church in Ranger, about 80 miles west of Fort Worth, by the Rev. Thomas Teczar in 1989 and 1990. The suit claims Teczar gave most of them alcohol beforehand.

One of the men also claims he was raped by the Rev. James Hanlon in 1988 and 1989 and believes Hanlon told Teczar about his vulnerability.

The plaintiffs, not named in the suit filed Tuesday in Eastland, were ages 12 to 18 at the time, the lawsuit says.

The men now seek unspecified damages from the former priests, the Fort Worth diocese, Bishop Kevin Vann, his predecessors and any successors. The men also claim the diocese tried to cover up the abuse and could have prevented it.

Fort Worth diocese officials did not immediately return calls Wednesday seeking comment on the suit.

After a March trial in Eastland, Teczar was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping and molesting an 11-year-old boy in the early 1990s.

In 2005, the Fort Worth diocese settled for $4.15 million a lawsuit with two of Teczar's accusers, including one who filed the criminal complaint in Eastland.

Hanlon died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1990, records show. Abuse allegations against him and five other priests are detailed in 700 pages of previously secret diocese documents released by a judge last year after the lawsuit was settled.


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