Third Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Files Lawsuit against Diocese of Corpus Christi
By Eleanor Dearman
Corpus Christi Caller Times
June 20, 2019
A third priest who was named in a list of clergy members who were "credibly accused" of sexual misconduct is suing Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
Msgr. Jesus Garcia Hernando is the latest to claim the diocese and bishop made a "false" statement in claiming he was "credibly accused" of sexually assaulting a minor.
"Defendants knew the statement was false and acted with reckless disregard for the truth," the lawsuit states. "The publication of the statement was made with malice."
While Hernando was indicted and sued in the 1990s over molestation allegations he was never convicted of a crime.
The lawsuit was filed on Hernando's behalf by Corpus Christi Attorney Andrew Greenwell. Greenwell is also representing John Feminelli and Michael Heras in similar lawsuits that were filed earlier this year.
"The significance is that, from the perspective of my clients, their name(s) (have) been soiled unfairly," Greenwell said.
He said people were included in their disclosure of names that shouldn't have been. Greenwell said a fourth lawsuit may also be filed.
Diocese spokeswoman Margie Rivera declined to comment about the latest lawsuit. Attorney Douglas E. Chaves, who represents the diocese in at least two of the other lawsuits, declined to comment because he hadn't yet reviewed the latest suit.
Greenwell said the goal of the lawsuits is to have the priests' names removed from the list and the diocese apologize. If that's not done voluntarily, Greenwell said he hopes a jury will decide if there was defamation and how much the diocese should pay for that.
Feminelli is a retired priest. Heras was removed from the ministry in 2014. Diocese records show Hernando was removed from the ministry in 2011. However, Greenwell said on Thursday that he's still a priest in Spain.