Former Pastor on Leave Amid Sex Allegation

By Jimmy Isaac
News Journal
May 14, 2005

A former St. Matthew's Catholic Church pastor has been placed on administrative leave as church leaders investigate eight-year old allegations of sexual impropriety, the Diocese of Tyler announced Friday.

In 2002, Monsignor John Flynn retired from St. Matthew's in Longview, at the request of Bishop Alvaro Corrado of the Tyler Diocese, following allegations from a San Antonio woman made in October 1997.

Flynn has most recently provided ongoing ministry to the community of Holy Spirit Church at Holly Lake in Wood County.

"Monsignor Flynn is to refrain from all priestly ministry and has no faculties from the diocese," said a statement released by Corrada.

"There is nothing to suggest that there are any recent victims, or any victims in the diocese."

Flynn stepped down as pastor of St. Matthew's Church in San Antonio in 1997 after an unidentified woman accused him of unspecified sexual misconduct with her more than 20 years before. Reports in the San Antonio Express-News describe the woman alternately as an adolescent or teenager at the time of the original misconduct. Flynn spent several months under evaluation at a treatment center in Maryland after he left the San Antonio church.

The Rev. Gavin Vaverek, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Longview, is promoter of justice for the diocese. On his recommendation, the allegations against Flynn have been referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for investigation. Flynn's administrative leave will continue until the investigation is complete.

"Although this appears to involve the same allegations we believed thoroughly investigated by 1997, we will make sure it is reviewed properly," Corrada's statement said.

Tyler Diocese Communications Director John D'Avignon said Flynn admitted having a relationship with the woman but that allegations that the relationship began when she was a minor have always been denied by Flynn and have never been proven.

"We called the district attorney in San Antonio," said D'Avignon, "and he's not interested in (charges against Flynn) because the allegations are old."

The longtime priest came to East Texas in November 1998 at the invitation of then-Bishop Edmond Carmody, who, at the time, said he was aware of the allegations. Carmody appointed Flynn in March 1999 as parish administrator of the new mission of St. Matthew's in Longview.

The church was established as a Catholic presence in northwest Longview and draws parishioners from Pine Tree, White Oak, Greggton and Spring Hill.

St. Matthew's was elevated to parish status during Flynn's tenure.


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