Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct

North Texas Daily
September 9, 2008

DECATUR (MCT) -A deceased Decatur priest has been accused of sexual misconduct with a boy three decades ago, Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese officials said Monday.

The diocese was notified about the accusations against the priest, the Rev. Francis A. Zimmerer, on Aug. 25 by the man's spouse, diocese officials said.

"We've received a credible allegation," said the Rev. James Hart, chancellor of the diocese. "This would have happened when he was 11 years of age, which would be 1978."

Zimmerer, a Benedictine order priest, died in 1983 at age 74. He was assigned as administrator of the parish at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Decatur in January 1975 and served there until May 1981.

The man, who is now 42, lives out of state but was a member of the church as a boy. He was allegedly abused in the priest's rectory.

After being notified of the accusation, Hart contacted the diocese conduct review board and then Decatur police. The diocese has offered the man counseling.

Hart contacted the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the accusation, continuing the diocese's policy of openly airing allegations of sexual abuse. Diocese officials also went to the church to ask that anyone abused by Zimmerer come forward. Hart said the diocese has received no other accusations against Zimmerer.


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