Coronavirus Pandemic Postpones Catholic Priest Trial to June

By Nicole Hensley
Houston Chronicle via
March 17, 2020

© Cody Bahn, Staff Photographer Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, former priest at Conroe's Sacred Heart Catholic Church, runs a rosary through his hands Thursday, July 18, 2019 after leaving the 435th state District Court of Judge Patty Maginnis in Conroe.

The decision was made out of concerns for public health. A lawyer for accused cleric Manuel La Rosa-Lopez said the case will be tried in June, rather than later in March. A jury was slated to be picked Friday.

The lawyer, Wendell Odom, said in an email the trial will now begin on June 15.

“Following the Texas Supreme Courts emergency declaration, the Judge and all parties agree the safety of everyone would be best served by rescheduling the trial until June,” Odom said in an emailed statement.

"It was foreseeable because of current circumstances," said Nancy Hebert, of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

As of Monday afternoon, four people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Montgomery County.

Jason Millsaps, chief of staff to Montgomery County Judge Mike Keough, said courts were exempted from an order to cancel events that would bring together large groups of people. Each judge was allowed to decide how their court operations would proceed.

The case is being tried before 435th District Court Judge Patty McGinnis, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

La Rosa-Lopez, who is free on bond, is facing five counts of indecency with a child.









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