Diocesan Settlement

Texas Catholic
October 4, 2009

The Diocese of Dallas announced on Oct. 2 that it had reached an $800,000 settlement with three men in conjunction with a 2007 suit pertaining to sexual abuse incidents in the 1970s and 1980s. The dioceseís Office of Communications released the following statement:

The Diocese of Dallas did reach a settlement totaling $800,000 with three men represented by Ms. Tahira Merritt. The settlement was reached on September 30, 2009 and stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2007 regarding incidents of sexual abuse by Richard Johnson in the 1970ís and 80ís. The settlement will be paid in large part by insurance funds.

Johnson, pastor of three parishes during the time of the offenses, was removed from ministry as soon as allegations were brought to the diocese in 2006. As was revealed in legal depositions, the Diocese of Dallas had no prior knowledge of Johnsonís wrongdoing.

Today, the 80-year old Johnson is not allowed to function as a priest. Bishop Kevin Farrell initiated the process of laicization at the Vatican in 2007 to permanently remove Johnson from the priesthood. That case is pending.

The Diocese has informed the three men through legal counsel that Bishop Farrell is open to meeting with them to extend an apology on behalf of the Church.


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