|Letter Sent to Parishioners about Sexual Abuse Allegations
January 15, 2008
The following letter was sent to parishioners of Christ the King Church on Jan. 13, 2008, regarding sexual abuse allegations:
Dear Parishioners of Christ the King Church:
An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made against Father Stephen R Horn, formerly Pastor of Christ the King Church. The allegation stems from Father's alleged interaction with an individual between 1989 and 1993, while he was Pastor at Christ the King.
When sexual abuse of a minor by a priest is alleged, a preliminary investigation is conducted promptly and objectively. If there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, the Diocesan Bishop is required to withdraw the accused from sacred ministry and otherwise to restrict him pending the outcome of a process in Rome.
A Special Panel of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston's Review Board investigated the allegation against Father Horn, offering those involved the opportunity to present evidence and to suggest witnesses and avenues of further investigation that they considered informative. As a result of that investigation, the Special Panel and the Review Board itself have concluded that sufficient evidence does exist that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. They have recommended that Father Horn be withdrawn from ministry pending further proceedings.
An allegation is not a determination of guilt and we each have a right to our good reputation. However, the Archdiocese takes allegations of sexual abuse of minors extremely seriously. Accordingly, it is my conclusion that Father Horn should be removed from active ministry at this time.
If any parishioner has information regarding Father Horn that should be brought to the attention of the Archdiocese, please contact Mr. John Sieger, General Counsel for the Archdiocese, at 713-659-5461. Parishioners are also requested to provide this information to others whom ought to be made aware, including, if appropriate, the Houston Police epartment, 713-986-3350.
This is a difficult time for everyone involved, which, because a priest is the alleged wrongdoer, includes all of the Clergy and Catholic Faithful of the Archdiocese. We have worked diligently for years to implement the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. With the unstinting help of hundreds of volunteers and the leadership of pastors and priests, the Archdiocese has initiated a variety of programs and reporting protocols designed to prevent abusive behavior and to deal appropriately with it if it occurs. Nearly 48,000 persons involved in church work in our ten counties, for instance, have participated in our formal training program in the recognition of abusive behavior.
I assure you of my prayers and support and I ask you for yours. We will continue the good work of building Christ's Kingdom here in our Local Church and of providing all our children and youth a safe environment as we do so. May the Lord continue to be our strength and consolation.
Sincerely yours, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
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