Diocese, 2 Ex-Priests Are Sued

By Melissa Vargas
Fort Worth Star-Telegram [Fort Worth TX]
April 4, 2007

Four men who claim to have been sexually abused by Thomas Teczar, and one of them also by James Hanlon, filed two separate lawsuits Tuesday in Eastland against the former priests and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Diocese officials had heard that a lawsuit was looming but had not been officially served late Tuesday, spokesman Pat Svacina said.

"The bishop will have to take it to counsel to see what's in there and look at it and decide a course of action," he said.

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 by Teczar between 1989 and 1990. The suit claims Teczar gave most of them alcohol beforehand.

One of the men also claims he was raped by Hanlon from August 1988 to February 1989 and believes Hanlon told Teczar about his vulnerability.

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

The men, many of whom had gone to Teczar for advice, now seek unspecified damages from the priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Kevin Vann and his predecessors and any successors. The men also claim the diocese tried to cover up the abuse and could have prevented it.

Teczar was sentenced to 25 years in prison in March for raping and molesting an 11-year-old boy in the early 1990s. Hanlon died of cirrhosis of the liver in February 1990, records show.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.


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