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  • Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in Texas, was among the Roman Catholic leaders who helped identify nearly 300 clergy members accused of sexually abusing children.

    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in Texas, was among the Roman Catholic leaders who helped identify nearly 300 clergy members accused of sexually abusing children. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 May 2019

Earlier in January, Roman Catholic leaders in Texas identified around 300 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children.

Texas police investigating child sexual abuse on Wednesday raided offices of the Catholic diocese in Dallas, after alleging that church officials had not been fully cooperative.

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Police served search warrants at the headquarters of the diocese, a storage location and offices of a local church.

The raids were connected to the investigation of a fugitive priest named Edmundo Paredes and at least five new allegations of abuse against other suspects, police said.

"These investigations stem from additional allegations made after the case against Mr. Paredes became public," Major Max Geron of the Dallas police said.

Paredes is charged with sexual abuse of a child and accused of molesting at least three other minors. He disappeared from the suburban Dallas church where he served for decades and is believed to have fled to his native Philippines.

The Dallas diocese said the raids did not involve any suspects who had not been publicly disclosed on a list of 31 predator priests going back to the 1950s. The diocese released the list in January.

"The diocese has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation of these priests," Dallas Bishop Edward Burns told reporters.

A judge approved the warrants after police alleged that church officials had not been fully cooperative, according to The Dallas Morning News, which obtained a copy of court records.

"To date, the Dallas Police Department has not been given the number of priests' files flagged for sexual abuse," the newspaper quoted police as saying in an affidavit.

Police accused the church of hiding allegations against priests or providing incomplete information, according to the newspaper.

"We believed at this point that executing search warrants was wholly appropriate for the furtherance of the investigation," Geron said.

In the months after the Pennsylvania report, dozens of other dioceses around the United States have released the names of hundreds of priests and others accused of abuse. Some states have opened their own investigations into the church.

Texas’ Catholic dioceses have been in the spotlight since November when authorities searched the offices of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston looking for documents related to a priest charged in September with sex crimes.

About 30 percent of Texas’ population, or 8.5 million people, identify as Catholics, one of the highest rates for any U.S. state, according to the USCCB.

Some of the 15 Texas dioceses listed priests accused of abuse going back as far as the 1940s. Others like Laredo only went back to 2000, when it was created, and listed no names.

It was not clear whether the release of names would result in prosecutors bringing charges. The majority of the priests identified in Texas have died, as is the case in most dioceses around the country.


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