Fort Worth Diocese, Priest Sued

By Darren Barbee
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 21, 2009

This report includes sexually explicit language.

A California man filed a lawsuit Friday accusing the Rev. Rudolf Renteria of sexually abusing him when he was the priestís altar boy in Arlington in the 1980s.

The man, now in his 40s, is also suing the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, accusing it of covering up the priestís actions. His father told another priest at the time of the alleged May 1981 incident, but Renteria was allowed to continue in the ministry, according to the suit. Renteria was "recycled into ministry in the Dallas Diocese," the suit alleges.

Renteria, who lives in Dallas County, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said, "Weíre aware of the alleged incident" but declined to comment further because officials have not seen the lawsuit.

According to the suit, in 1981, Renteria offered to take the man, then 14, to spend the night at the rectory of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington. There, Renteria fondled the boy and attempted anal intercourse, the suit says.

A 2002 diocese news release about a matter describing an incident with a 14-year-old boy said Renteria was unable to "confirm or deny the incident because of the influence of alcohol."

For two decades after the alleged incident, Renteria was moved to several parishes before becoming a chaplain at St. Paulís Hospital in Dallas.

In 2002, Renteria was relieved from the ministry by former Bishop Joseph P. Delaney, after a decision by U.S. bishops to remove credibly accused priests.

Bishop Kevin Vann has started the process of defrocking him, Svacina said.

The accuserís attorney, Tahira Khan Merritt of Dallas, said her client came forward to encourage others who may have been abused to go to authorities.

Weíre aware of the alleged incident."

Pat Svacina, spokesman for the Fort Worth Catholic diocese

DARREN BARBEE, 817-390-7126,


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