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US bishops’ president accused of allowing reported sex abuser access to kids

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has been accused of allowing a priest who confessed to sex abuse of a minor to function as a pastor of a parish, despite DiNardo’s assurances to one of the victims that he would no longer have access to children.

The allegations have been made following news that Cardinal DiNardo is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican regarding allegations of a coverup of the sexual abuse of minors and seminarians by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The accused priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez of DiNardo’s Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, turned himself in to local police on Tuesday after being charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

One of two alleged victims, who has remained anonymous, told the Associated Press that she had reported La Rosa-Lopez to the archdiocese in 2001, before DiNardo had been made archbishop, but then had reported the abuse to DiNardo himself in 2010 after she had returned to the U.S. after years of living abroad and found that the priest had been made pastor of a church in the city of Richmond, Texas, a part of DiNardo’s archdiocese.

The alleged victim, apparently the same designated as “M.V.” in the police affidavit, told the AP that La Rosa-Lopez was brought in to speak to her, and that he acknowledged his abuse, and apologized. The victim reportedly also received psychological counseling services from the archdiocese.

The same alleged victim told the AP and prosecutors that DiNardo and other “top clergy” informed her that La Rosa-Lopez had been sent two times to psychiatric treatment and would no longer be permitted to work with children. However, she later discovered that La Rosa-Lopez was functioning as pastor of the Richmond parish, St. John Fisher Catholic Church. He was also named Episcopal Vicar for Hispanics, giving him supervision over matters related to Hispanics throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The victim told police that she had decided to report the case to them “because of the perceived duplicity of Cardinal DiNardo (regarding his public statements regarding recent priest sex scandals) and the Church’s failure to adequately protect children from La Rosa,” in the words of the police affidavit.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the archdiocese claimed that only one accusation had been made to the archdiocese in 2001, and that Children’s Protective Services had been notified. The archdiocese says that La Rosa-Lopez was cleared to return to ministry in 2004, and that no further accusations had been made since then, until August of this year, when a second alleged victim approached the archdiocese about abuse he claims to have suffered from La Rosa-Lopez in the late 1990s.

The archdiocese says it reported the August accusation to Children’s Protective Services, a claim that the purported victim also says was made to him by the archdiocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator, Sister Maureen O’Connell, but the affidavit for a warrant for arrest of La Rosa-Lopez states that officers could not find any such report filed with authorities.

According to the victim, apparently the same named as “J.H.” in the police affidavit, Cardinal DiNardo showed little concern for his case, an attitude he mentioned in written notes taken after a meeting with the prelate.

“Cardinal seemed dismissive of situation,” he stated in his notes, according to the Associated Press. He also said that DiNardo had told him, “You should have told us sooner.”

“It was a dismissive tone,” the victim reportedly told the AP, addding, “In the back of my head, I was thinking about his comment. I was so mad afterward.”

The archdiocese has not yet responded to a request for comment from LifeSite regarding the allegations, and has also failed to answer similar inquiries from other media.

The Affidavit for La Rosa-Lopez’s Warrant for Arrest can be viewed here.

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