BLINDED BY FAITH?
Long-secret documents reveal that Fort Worth bishop was aware of
priest's troubled past
By Darren Barbee
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Staff Writer
June 5, 2005
"T admits to being attracted to adolescents in every way, including
-- Bishop Joseph Delaney's notes, June 12-13, 1988, shortly before
he hired the Rev. Thomas Teczar
"His time in therapy was very intense and painful but very
successful. He no longer has the need to seek out adolescents for
companions. ... Because of all the other good qualities for ministry
in T's life, S feels he will be a very successful priest."
-- Delaney's notes from a June 14, 1988, conversation with Gilbert
Skidmore, Teczar's therapist
"I am willing to give Father Teczar an opportunity to get back
into active ministry, fully aware of the possible risks that may
be involved. ... Please pray with me that my decision will be of
benefit to all concerned and for the good of souls."
-- Delaney in a July 13, 1988, letter to Bishop Timothy Harrington
in Worcester, Mass.
"I laid down a request that he not have any social relationships
with anyone under 25 in future."
-- Delaney's notes from a Jan. 25, 1991, meeting with Teczar to
discuss the priest's meetings with two young men in Bedford
"DA and sheriff threatening prosecution ... hinting further
trouble -- ???accusing Tom of pedophilia???"
-- Delaney's notes after a March 18, 1993, conversation with Teczar
and two attorneys
"After weighing the options and considering the uncertainty
of litigation and the related costs, the diocese ... settled the
claims. ... At the time that Thomas Teczar came to the diocese,
there were no allegations of sexual misconduct against him."
-- April 7, 2005, news release from the Fort Worth Diocese after
it agreed to settle a lawsuit by two men who said Teczar sexually
With the quiet rumble of tires over red brick streets, the priest
slipped away from Ranger.
A few hours before, the Eastland County sheriff had confronted
him about the sexual abuse of young boys. It wasn't the first time
such allegations had been made.
This time, they would end the Rev. Thomas Teczar's career.
On that March day in 1993, Teczar drove east toward the chancellery
of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. Inside, documents detailing
his reasons for leaving Ranger would stay sealed for more than a
decade in the secret diocese archives known as the Confidential
This spring, the Star-Telegram examined the files, which were opened
during a lawsuit filed by two men who said Teczar molested them
when they were boys living in Ranger. The suit was settled, and
the diocese paid the men $4.1 million.
The documents show how a priest with an admitted sexual attraction
to boys was placed in charge of four rural parishes with no supervision.
And they raise nagging questions about the actions of Fort Worth
Bishop Joseph P. Delaney, who sent him to Ranger.
Delaney, the chief keeper of the files, met with Teczar and the
priest's two attorneys on March 18, 1993, the day after Teczar left
Ranger. As Delaney took notes, he felt uneasy. The more he heard,
the less he wanted to know.
By then, Delaney had known for a month that Teczar had failed to
report the sexual abuse of children by two men in Ranger. But now
he was learning that Teczar's involvement might go further. The
sheriff and the district attorney were "hinting further trouble
-- accusing Tom of pedophilia," according to Delaney's handwritten
Teczar's name surfaced in the investigation in January 1993. In
Ranger, two men had sexually assaulted as many as seven boys and
two girls over a period of three years, according to police and
Child Protective Services reports.
Police learned that the priest had had sex with both men and that
he had warned one of them when officers were closing in.
When an Eastland County grand jury convened to consider the case,
Teczar was subpoenaed. But the priest refused through his attorneys
to answer questions on the grounds that he might incriminate himself.
With the storm around the priest growing, Delaney wrote, "Recommendation:
Tom get out somehow."
In time, Eastland County law enforcement officials came to believe
that the diocese and Delaney had hampered their investigation by
ignoring the sheriff's and district attorney's requests for information
about Teczar's past.
Delaney said he never knew they were seeking information about
But the facts that Delaney had gleaned five years earlier, before
he brought Teczar in, would have been crucial to their investigation,
Documents that Delaney placed in the Confidential Files showed
that Teczar had a sexual fixation on boys and young men, according
to depositions, court documents and Star-Telegram interviews.
Delaney also knew that Teczar had been forced out of active ministry
in Massachusetts after a boy accused him of sexual misconduct and
that two other bishops had rejected Teczar before Delaney accepted
And after Teczar became the parish priest in Ranger in 1989, Delaney
continued to support him, even when other problems surfaced during
the priest's 3½ years there.
One of the men who sued the Fort Worth Diocese was 12 when he met
Teczar in 1990. The man, called John Doe II in court documents,
said Teczar raped him and molested him several times from spring
1990 until late 1992.
The man filed a criminal complaint with the Texas Rangers in May
2002. Teczar was indicted in March 2003 on three counts of aggravated
sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child in connection
with John Doe's complaint. Teczar, who is free on $30,000 bond,
is expected to stand trial in Eastland County next year.
Teczar has also been sued by three Massachusetts men who allege
that he abused them when they were boys. The suits have been settled
by the Diocese of Worcester, Mass., where Teczar had previously
worked. Other complaints of sexual misconduct against Teczar have
also surfaced in Worcester Diocese files and in at least one other
In a recent telephone interview, Teczar, 64, said he did not abuse
the Massachusetts men who sued him. Asked if he has ever abused
anyone, he said, "I'm not at liberty to say."
He declined to elaborate.
Teczar said he did not abuse the two men who sued the Fort Worth
Diocese and that they were only after money.
"This man lied his way into a settlement," Teczar said,
referring to John Doe. "I don't know this guy. I never touched
him. I don't know anything except what I've read in the papers."
In a recent interview, Delaney said he knew nothing of sexual-misconduct
allegations against Teczar before or during the priest's time in
the Fort Worth Diocese. But Delaney's notes in the Confidential
Files show that he knew of such suspicions.
Given the information he has now, it was a mistake to bring Teczar
to the diocese, Delaney said.
"When I brought him here, obviously I thought it was a good
thing to do," Delaney, 70, said in a May 11 interview with
the Star-Telegram. "I didn't bring somebody in that I thought,
let alone knew, was going to do these things."
Delaney would have known more about Teczar's past had he read the
priest's personnel file, said Dallas attorney Tahira Khan Merritt,
who represented John Doe in his lawsuit against the diocese.
With further investigation, he might have learned about Teczar
giving a 10-year-old boy a bath at a boys' home in Massachusetts.
And Delaney could have pressed for details when a Massachusetts
monsignor said Teczar had other incidents in his past.
But Delaney didn't press for details.
Delaney said he couldn't get access to the personnel file from
the Worcester Diocese because it isn't common practice for such
documents to be circulated among bishops. Instead, he relied on
recommendations from Teczar's therapist and the Massachusetts diocese.
He examined a clinical report about Teczar that was nearly three
years old. And he talked to Teczar.
Delaney documented his steps in the Confidential Files, which reveal
the diocese's place in a national scandal involving 10,000 accusations
of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
For more than a decade, the diocese has required employees to watch
a 90-minute video on preventing sexual misconduct. And since 2002,
the diocese has spent at least $200,000 training thousands of employees,
priests and volunteers to prevent abuse.
The training was prompted by lawsuits alleging widespread child
abuse that have cost the U.S. Roman Catholic Church more than $650
million and involve complaints against more than 4,000 priests.
Merritt said the bishop looked the other way when it came to Teczar,
who left before the diocese changed its policies.
Merritt called Delaney's actions a case of willful blindness.
"He doesn't see exactly what's in front of his eyes,"
Her client, John Doe, said his lawsuit showed that the Fort Worth
Diocese knew that Teczar "could hurt more kids."
"People need to know that even though they say that they want
to help victims of abuse, they care more about covering up their
lies," he said.
Delaney said that he has been truthful and that Teczar's accusers
are liars who have their money and now want to make mischief.
But more than a decade ago, Ronnie White, who was then Eastland
County's sheriff, saw things differently.
On March 17, 1993, White said, he drove to the rectory at St. Rita's
Catholic Church in Ranger, 90 miles west of Fort Worth. White said
he had no intention of strong-arming the priest. He wasn't angry
about Teczar's refusal to testify before the grand jury, he said.
But he was suspicious.
White told the priest that he planned to invite St. Rita's parishioners
to the upcoming trial of Teczar's intimate friends, who had been
indicted on charges of aggravated sexual assault of children. Teczar,
who had not yet been charged with a crime, said nothing.
"He was gone before daylight the next morning," White
Teczar says the meeting never happened.
The first accusations
"He was becoming very discouraged about how difficult it was
to overcome his past."
-- Delaney's notes to the Confidential Files in June 1988, shortly
before Teczar came to Fort Worth.
In the mid-1960s, when he was attending seminary, Teczar found
himself alone with an unruly 10-year-old boy who refused to take
Teczar, then about 25, was working at the Nazareth Home for Boys,
a Catholic home for troubled youths in Leicester, Mass. He bathed
the boy himself.
Teczar was later fired from the home after he took a group of boys
swimming and one complained afterward that Teczar had touched him
inappropriately, according to a deposition given by a friend of
Teczar's who also worked there.
Teczar said last month that he was fired because he wasn't getting
along with the staff and the boys.
"That's the official word," he said.
From the beginning of his seminary years, Teczar was dogged by
questions about his suitability for the priesthood. He was twice
kicked out of seminary because of erratic behavior, only to be given
second and third chances. Officials would note his exclusive friendships
with boys as he neared ordination.
From an early age, Teczar's fascination with the church was obvious.
He was an altar boy and played the organ at the suburban Massachusetts
church of his childhood, said his sister, Pat Ernitz of Millbury,
Mass. His education, too, was attuned to his parents' faith -- he
studied at a Catholic high school and college, and as early as junior
high school he expressed a desire to become a priest.
His early life was not marked by the tremendous wealth that came
to the family in 1967, when his mother married the trustee of a
local company. Until then, the family was upper-middle class, but
not rich, Ernitz said.
Also in 1967, months before his ordination, officials at Teczar's
home diocese in Worcester expressed concern about his "manifested
predilection for intimate and rather exclusive companionship with
young boys." The letter also noted, "if this breaks out
again, I do not think he should be ordained."
In a deposition, Teczar said his relationships with the boys were
friendships that another priest feared could be misread as sexual
After his December 1967 ordination, Teczar began serving in churches.
He was so well-liked in one parish that congregants signed a petition
asking the Worcester bishop to allow him to stay.
At another Massachusetts church, Teczar befriended 16-year-old
John Riganati. In 2003, Riganati filed a lawsuit in Worcester accusing
the priest of sexually abusing him over four years beginning in
In an interview last month, Teczar said he did not have sex with
Riganati, who has since settled the suit with the Worcester Diocese.
In a 1996 lawsuit filed in Massachusetts, Teczar was also accused
of sexually abusing 16-year-old David Lewcon in 1971 after giving
him Southern Comfort whiskey. Teczar said he did not abuse Lewcon,
though he admitted in a deposition that he had given him alcohol.
Another man, George Shea, sued the Worcester diocese in 2002, alleging
he was abused by Teczar. Teczar says he didn't know Shea and didn't
But one incident with a boy in 1984 would force Teczar out of ministry
for years -- until he found work in Fort Worth.
Placed on leave
"He was fortunately able to control himself. That may not
have been the case on some other occasions."
-- Delaney's notes from a June 1988 conversation with Teczar about
an incident with a 15-year-old boy that led the Worcester Diocese
to suspend the priest.
They enjoyed a meal at a posh Massachusetts restaurant called Plum's.
Teczar provided wine to the 15-year-old boy, and the conversation
went well, the priest remembers.
"He was a very good conversationalist," Teczar said in
He took the dark-haired boy back to his home at the church.
Teczar said he brewed coffee and the two talked about circumcision.
Teczar said the boy tried to seduce him, asking in a lowered voice
for candlelight and soft music.
The evening ended with a hug shared during a joke, Teczar said.
He thought the boy "was getting an erection, and I backed off
almost immediately. I didn't want to take any chances," he
said in an interview.
"I didn't touch his body or any private parts at all, nor
did I intend to," Teczar said.
The boy's mother, Norma Maciorowski, said the priest made sexual
innuendoes, then sexually abused her son. He has never told her
all the details about what happened that night in May 1984, she
said. The Star-Telegram is not naming her son at the family's request.
The incident forced Teczar from active ministry and led to a criminal
conviction for providing alcohol to the boy. It also landed him
in a psychological treatment center for clergy and in four Alcoholics
At the Worcester Diocese, Monsignor Raymond Page spoke with Teczar
and wrote on Aug. 29, 1984, that he was concerned Teczar that "had
not at all seen this incident as compromising or 'scandalous' or
In a deposition, Teczar acknowledged being sexually attracted to
the boy. Years later he told Delaney, while interviewing for a job
in the Fort Worth Diocese, that he was able to control himself that
night. "That may not have been the case on some other occasions,"
the bishop wrote.
As a result of that incident, Teczar was placed on leave in 1985
and was told to seek professional help. He entered the House of
Affirmation in California, where he received psychological treatment
for his problems with anger, sexuality and alcohol use.
Almost three years passed as he sought new employment in the Diocese
of Norwich, Conn., and the Archdiocese of Boston. Both rejected
The Diocese of Norwich received a letter from Page in October 1986
that noted the "trail of damaged youngsters he [Teczar] left
in one town. The police there were far from pleased. In that town,
the police threatened to find a reason to arrest him if he returned
there." Teczar said in an interview that he knew nothing of
the matter. He said the police would have come looking for him if
he had left youngsters damaged.
"Why would they have to go looking for a reason to arrest
me?" he said.
Teczar applied to, among other places, the Diocese of Austin, where
he was on the verge of being accepted. But he was directed to Fort
Worth, where priests were needed.
"In view of the past, I understand the current risks involved
and hereby pledge my financial assets towards any settlement the
diocese may have to make on my behalf."
-- June 1988 letter from Teczar, asking Delaney for permission
to work in the Fort Worth diocese.
Should he take the priest?
Delaney needed clergy in the summer of 1988. But, in an unusual
step, the Diocese of Worcester required him to take full legal responsibility
for Teczar -- in writing -- three years before he was officially
a part of the Fort Worth Diocese.
Delaney was concerned that Teczar had been suspended and that other
bishops had rejected him, he later said in a deposition.
Most of the information Delaney said he received was related to
the Maciorowski matter: reports from the House of Affirmation, interviews
with Teczar's therapist, a letter from the Worcester Diocese and
conversations with Teczar himself.
Delaney did not order new psychological tests for Teczar, instead
relying on a 3-year-old report from the House of Affirmation.
On June 12 and June 13, 1988, Teczar came to Fort Worth. He told
Delaney he had been sexually attracted to adolescents, but now saw
his past behavior as bizarre.
He also told Delaney that he was living at his mother's home on
Cape Cod, Mass., had held two jobs to support himself, and could
live off of his mother's wealth without working.
"But he has had a deep desire to return to ministry,"
Delaney's notes state.
The next day, June 14, Gilbert Skidmore, Teczar's therapist at
the House of Affirmation, told Delaney about the priest's past problems
of impulsively acting out sexually with adolescents.
But Skidmore also said the priest's therapy was successful and
that he had matured. Gone were Teczar's impulsiveness, poor judgment
and terror of authority figures. "His personality problems
have been generally resolved," according to Delaney's notes
from the conversation.
Teczar "no longer has the need to seek out adolescents for
companions, and this means he no longer finds them irresistible
sexual objects," Skidmore told Delaney.
Teczar was willing to go the extra mile that June. In view of his
past, Teczar, a millionaire's son, pledged his financial assets
toward any settlement the diocese might have to make because of
him. But years later, when the diocese settled the lawsuit, he paid
There were loose ends Delaney didn't tie up in 1988. For instance,
he spoke with Page, the Worcester monsignor, who told him Teczar
had "not only one incident but others," according to Delaney's
Page didn't go into what those incidents were, Delaney said in
"He just said that they were -- nothing had ever been proved,
nothing was clear, but that there were some suspicions about his
commitment to celibacy in the past," Delaney said in his deposition.
Delaney didn't ask for any details. But only two years before, Page
had described Teczar's past in greater detail for the bishop of
Norwich, citing the "trail of damaged youngsters" the
priest had left behind.
Delaney also called an old friend of his, the Rev. Michael Jamail,
a psychologist, and asked his advice. Jamail reasoned that if Teczar
was emotionally immature, as Skidmore had indicated, Teczar's sexual
acting out with children didn't mean that he was "acting as
a pedophile," according to Delaney's notes.
"If he has matured (as the counselor stresses), then he will
relate to adults in every way, including sexually, and not find
the young so attractive," Delaney wrote.
And if he had not matured? Delaney's notes don't reflect whether
he asked that question.
On July 13, 1988, Delaney wrote to Worcester Bishop Timothy Harrington:
"Having thought the matter over and prayed over it, I am now
writing to tell you that I am willing to give Father Teczar an opportunity
to get back into active ministry, fully aware of the possible risks
that may be involved."
Years later, in his deposition, Delaney said he meant the risk
of bad publicity from the Maciorowski incident.
"At that time, he seemed to be safe," Delaney said in
an interview last month. "And a good minister."
But others did not share Delaney's confidence. On Sept. 13, 1988,
a Worcester Diocese attorney urged Harrington to require Fort Worth
to take legal responsibility for Teczar to "lessen the potential
for future liability."
Delaney saw the attorney's letter, but was willing to take a chance.
He wrote to Harrington in October 1988, saying that he did not
have concerns "about Tom's past problem."
"If I had any fear that that problem would ever arise again
I could not and would not accept him at all for any length of time.
Instead, I am confident that he will be able to give effective priestly
service in the future in spite of the past difficulty."
By then, the priest had already worked at St. Patrick Cathedral
in Fort Worth, where he served for eight weeks. Beginning in September
1988, he served for a year as an associate pastor at St. Michael
Catholic Church in Bedford, Teczar said.
Delaney's 1988 files note that Teczar should be supervised during
his time in pastoral ministry. In his deposition, Delaney said such
supervision is typical for new priests.
In August 1989, with what must have been growing confidence in
the priest, Delaney sent Teczar to lead the tiny parishes in Ranger,
Strawn, Cisco and Eastland. He sent no one to supervise him.
In an Oct. 4, 1989, letter, he told Teczar that he had suggested
a mentor for him but that the priest would not report to Delaney
or anyone else about Teczar's activities.
"There was no need or call for it," Teczar said in an
Though the bishop did not know it yet, Teczar would be coming back
for visits to Bedford.
A new setting
"He admitted it was inappropriate."
-- Delaney's notes, January 1991, after learning of Teczar's visits
to two young men in Bedford.
Teczar didn't like the barrenness of Eastland County, though he
said he did like the people. In Ranger, he drove his dark blue Mercedes
past rusted street signs and clumps of cactuses -- but would often
head back to his family's 10-bedroom house on Cape Cod with its
105 feet of private beach, said Ernitz, Teczar's sister.
He had wild parties there, she said.
"They had grand old times," she said.
Teczar said he threw parties, but they weren't wild.
Teczar told Delaney he was unhappy. "I can walk in these Texas
boots, but the fit is not comfortable," he told the bishop,
according to a deposition given by Teczar.
But to the parishioners in the small town of less than 2,500 people,
Teczar was kind and generous. He bought ornate candelabras, an expensive
altar cloth and a refrigerator for St. Rita's, a congregant said.
No one in the town knew -- and Delaney did not tell them -- that
Teczar had been suspended from his diocese in Massachusetts after
a 15-year-old boy accused him of sexual misconduct.
Delaney didn't tell anyone that the Maciorowski family had discovered
that Teczar was back in ministry in Texas, or that in January 1990
the family was demanding that the priest be removed. Delaney dismissed
a letter from the family as "overwrought and overwritten,"
he said in a deposition. He never contacted the family, Norma Maciorowski
Following the Maciorowskis' complaint, Harrington, the Worcester
bishop, wanted Teczar removed, too. He wrote a letter to Delaney
in February 1990 informing him that Teczar no longer had his approval
to function as a priest.
But Delaney had the authority to keep Teczar working in the Fort
Worth Diocese, and he did so.
By October 1990, Massachusetts prosecutors were pursuing a charge
of providing alcohol to a minor against Teczar, but they dropped
a charge of sexual abuse.
On Oct. 11, 1990, as part of the court case, Delaney wrote a letter
to Teczar's attorney, stating, "He is not working with young
people in his present assignment." At the time, Teczar was
heading churches with at least eight altar boys in Ranger, Cisco,
Strawn and Eastland, according to his deposition.
Delaney also wrote that Teczar had begun a new phase of his life,
fully intending "to avoid even the appearance of anything untoward
in the future."
About three months later, on Jan. 15, 1991, Teczar returned to
Worcester, where he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of contributing
to the delinquency of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
He was fined $375, according to court records.
Ten days later, Delaney called Teczar to the chancellery in downtown
Fort Worth to discuss a new problem.
Delaney had learned that Teczar was driving 90 miles -- it isn't
clear how often -- from his new assignment in Ranger to visit two
young men in Bedford, where he had served in 1988 and 1989.
Delaney requested that Teczar no longer socialize with anyone under
age 25, according to the bishop's handwritten notes. Teczar agreed
that the requirement was necessary, but it would be like "walking
on eggs," he told Delaney.
Teczar said in an interview that he has no recollection of the
In a deposition, Delaney said he believed the priest would keep
The meeting ended, Teczar returned to Ranger, unsupervised. For
the next three years, he took advantage.
"I warned T [Teczar] he had an obligation to report the sex
-- Delaney's notes following a March 18, 1993, conversation with
John Doe has had the dream many times. He holds a 12-gauge shotgun,
pointed at Daniel Hawley.
In Ranger, Hawley had raped John over a period of more than two
years, beginning in 1990, when John was about 12.
His more violent dreams involve Teczar.
John Doe, a former truck driver, is now 27 and lives in Abilene.
He believes the Fort Worth Diocese protected Teczar, even as police
were asking for the church's help to investigate him.
In St. Rita's rectory, Teczar's personal possessions included a
vibrator and a camera.
It was there that Teczar had sex with John's abuser, Hawley, and
another man, DeWilliam Bixler. He photographed both men naked, according
to a statement Hawley gave police.
Teczar said he did not take the photograph. But he looked through
Hawley's stack of Polaroids of naked, vulnerable boys from Ranger.
Hawley offered Teczar more than photos. He and Bixler were by then
raping as many as seven boys, according to police reports. Two girls
may also have been molested, according to police reports. The children
were ages 7 or 8 to 16.
Hawley offered to bring a minor to Teczar's house, according to
a letter Hawley wrote. Merritt said he wrote the letter at the request
of the diocese. "Thomas Teczar stated 'It's tempting but no!
I've been through therapy and I just couldn't do it.' He advised
me to stop messing with young boys," the letter said.
Teczar said he knew Hawley and Bixler were abusing children, but
did not report it to police.
"I didn't know I had an obligation to do that," Teczar
said in an interview last month.
By January 1993, police had begun investigating Hawley and Bixler.
When Teczar found out, he finally took action.
He went to Hawley's house in Ranger and warned him to "get
rid of" the Polaroids he had taken of his victims, Teczar said.
Hawley said in a statement to police that he burned two photos of
boys, including one of John Doe.
More than a decade later, Teczar defends his actions.
"At the time, there were no charges against Daniel whatsoever,"
Teczar said in a recent interview. "I had no proof that the
police were coming."
In August 1993, Hawley admitted what he had done and pleaded guilty
to aggravated sexual assault. He received a 35-year prison sentence.
In January 1994, Bixler was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
By March 1993, White, the sheriff, was suspicious that Teczar might
be involved, too. White, who knew nothing of Teczar's past, called
the Fort Worth Diocese at least three times during his investigation
and left messages asking for help.
His last call was placed after Teczar refused to testify before
an Eastland County grand jury on March 17, 1993.
Leslie Vance, the former Eastland County district attorney, said
in an interview he believes the diocese hampered the investigation.
"We expected the church to respond to our request for help
in running down leads that involved possible sexual abuse of children,"
Vance said in a deposition. "And we could not understand why
that was a problem."
Delaney said in an interview last month that he was unaware of
attempts by law enforcement officers to contact him.
"Neither I nor anybody I talked to at the Catholic Center
has any recollection" of a call, he said. "Certainly nothing
ever came in the mail. It came as a complete surprise to us that
they're saying that. We never heard from them, as far as I know,
But Teczar had already hired two attorneys, and he met with them
and Delaney at the Fort Worth chancellery on March 18, 1993, according
to a note Delaney put in the Confidential Files.
In the meeting, Delaney learned that White and Vance were suspicious
that Teczar was involved in pedophilia with Hawley and Bixler.
Delaney said the attorneys made him feel uneasy.
"There was a lot I didn't want to know at that point,"
Teczar's attorneys were the ones who said he needed to get out
of the diocese, Delaney said.
"I don't remember very much. It was a huge surprise. They
came up to see me," Delaney said in a recent interview. "They
did most of the talking and spun this whole thing."
In his notes, Delaney wrote that Teczar "will have to devise
something to tell the parish."
In an interview last month, when Delaney was asked why he didn't
direct Teczar to tell parishioners the truth, the bishop answered,
"To what end?"
In 2002, John Doe filed a complaint with the Texas Rangers alleging
that Teczar had joined in the abuse against him. In April of this
year, the diocese agreed to pay him $2.75 million to settle his
lawsuit. Most of the money is set aside in a trust to pay for expenses
such as counseling, Merritt said.
Teczar said that he never met his accuser and that the criminal
case was filed to bolster the man's claims for money. Teczar said
he is accused, for instance, of abusing the boy in a plane with
Hawley. But Teczar said he never flew a plane or had a pilot's license.
John Doe said he came forward after he was contacted by Lewcon,
the Massachusetts man who says he was victimized by Teczar in 1971
when he was 16. Lewcon said he found John Doe by contacting people
in Ranger after finding out that Teczar had worked there.
John Doe said Lewcon "told me that Teczar was still loose."
"Then, I found the strength to call the authorities about
Teczar to make sure he didn't hurt any other child," he said.
In recurring dreams, John Doe shoots Hawley. He dreams of running
Teczar down in an 18-wheeler.
"We're talking about driving over him, running over him, running
over him, you have 18 tires, just trickling over him, one at a time,"
he said in a deposition.
"I feel bitter that you should have taken him in and put him
out here where there was nobody to watch over him."
-- A Feb. 15, 1994, letter to Delaney from a Strawn man, now deceased,
concerning Teczar being moved to Ranger.
The mechanic was in his mid-30s, unmarried, and had a bachelor's
degree in history, according to notes Delaney took when he met with
him in 1994.
In the 1990s, the man lived in Strawn, one of the parishes served
by Teczar. In February 1994, he wrote to Delaney saying he was angry
at the bishop because he allowed Teczar to lead the church unsupervised.
Teczar "tried to kiss me twice, suggested 'we get closer.'
He even asked me to spend the night with him. When I tried to explain
to him that I am a conservative Catholic, he sidestepped the issue
by saying that God does not care who we get naked with as long as
we love them."
Teczar also took the man's confession, then used his words as leverage
when trying to solicit sex from him in 1990, according to Delaney's
The man, now deceased, told Delaney he was terrified of going to
confession, Delaney wrote in his notes from his Feb. 7, 1994, meeting
with the man.
Teczar said he made no sexual advances toward the man.
"He might have misconstrued some of the things that I said,"
Delaney told him Teczar was no longer in ministry. He also wrote
the man in March 1994, telling him, "Yours is the only incident
that has come to my attention" involving Teczar.
The bishop didn't disclose any other information about Teczar,
such as the incident with the 15-year-old boy in Massachusetts.
Delaney agreed to pay for the man's counseling. He then wrote to
Teczar, saying that the man's complaint "rings all too true."
"Personally, I feel betrayed by you," Delaney wrote in
1994 to Teczar, who had moved back to Massachusetts after leaving
the Fort Worth Diocese.
Teczar continues to receive monthly benefits and health insurance
from the Worcester Diocese. He lives in a $92,000 house in Dudley,
Mass., on money he inherited, he said.
Further revelations came in 1996, when Lewcon filed a lawsuit against
Teczar and the Worcester Diocese.
"The only thing I can tell you is he lost his civil suit against
me," Teczar said.
But court records show that a Worcester Superior Court jury found
that Teczar committed "reckless infliction of emotional distress"
Lewcon and his attorney, Laurence Hardoon of Boston, said the jury
awarded Lewcon no money because it felt other issues unrelated to
Teczar had caused some of his suffering.
Lewcon said he had earlier settled the part of the case against
the Worcester Diocese for $110,000.
By filing his lawsuit, Lewcon brought Teczar's past to public attention
in Fort Worth. In a 1998 interview about the suit, Delaney told
the Star-Telegram: "I am told that the bishop in Worcester
wrote letters to other bishops detailing Father Teczar's history.
But I did not get that information."
Bishop is blamed
"Your complaint against him is the first that I know of that
involves misconduct with a minor."
-- Delaney letter to Wade Driskill, July 2002.
Wade Driskill started getting into trouble with the law just after
his sexual abuse ended in 1992, Merritt said.
After that, Driskill always drank too much. He led a promiscuous
life, sleeping with one woman after another.
Driskill is 29. He sees irony, he says, in the fact that he is
in jail while Teczar is a free man.
Driskill, an electrician, alleged in his lawsuit against the Fort
Worth Diocese that Teczar sexually abused him from 1990, when he
was about 14, until 1992. About $350,000 from his $1.4 million settlement
with the Fort Worth Diocese has been set aside for his counseling,
He is in jail for forgery. But he does not blame his criminal acts
Teczar said he knew Driskill from a local convenience store but
didn't abuse him.
Driskill and John Doe said their years of suffering could have
been prevented if Delaney had heeded the many warnings and refused
to hire Teczar. They also said the diocese covered for the priest
after he left by misleading them and others.
Driskill was in jail in Dallas when he wrote his first letter to
Delaney in 2002, asking for help with counseling.
Delaney wrote a response similar to the one he gave the Strawn
man eight years earlier: "Your complaint against him is the
first that I know of that involves misconduct with a minor."
Again, the bishop didn't disclose information about Teczar's past
Driskill is still angry about the letter.
"Bishop Delaney has lied about everything," he said."It's
like a slap in the face when he preaches on accountability yet he
can't stand up and say 'I made a mistake, I erred, I was wrong,
and I'm sorry.' "
Driskill is also angry about a statement the diocese released to
the press April 7 following the $4.1 million settlement of his and
John Doe's lawsuit. The statement said, "At the time that Thomas
Teczar came to the diocese there were no allegations of sexual misconduct
Driskill said the statement contradicts Delaney's depositions and
letters about the 1984 Maciorowski incident.
"All the evidence in this case points otherwise," Driskill
said. "Bishop Delaney gave a deposition saying that he was
aware of allegations against Teczar."
He said parishioners should demand answers from Delaney.
"It took a lot of donations to pay out $4 million," he
said. "To me, they have the right to know, the right to hold
him accountable and find out the truth."
Delaney said he made the best judgments he could with the information
he had in hiring Teczar. And he said the matter belongs in the past.
Delaney met with Driskill in August 2002 and, according to his
notes from the meeting, "expressed my regret at the abuse he
suffered from" Teczar. The April 7 statement also expressed
Delaney's regret about any abuse that may have occurred.
But in an interview last month, Delaney bristled when told the
two men consider him a liar. He said he suspects Driskill and John
Doe were both lying for money. The diocese settled the lawsuit to
avoid paying millions more in legal fees, he said.
The settlement was paid from the diocese's funds and by insurance.
In agreeing to the settlement, the diocese admitted no wrongdoing.
Teczar's Worcester Diocese, which was also sued, paid nothing to
Driskill and John Doe.
Delaney said his attitude about priests who have abused minors
has been consistent.
"I'm certainly not going to tolerate any priest who is sexually
abusive of minors or sexually active in a way that is impossible
for a priest," he said.
"They can't function in the diocese," he said. "And
maybe in a very few cases when we found out something was happening,
I think it was only in two cases, they were removed from the diocese."
Eight priests have been accused of sexual abuse in the diocese
since 1969. The names of three of the priests, including Teczar,
have been made public. The diocese has refused to release the others'
Delaney said he hopes Teczar's time in the diocese will not be
a part of his legacy. But he said he has not lied to anyone, including
the two men with whom the diocese settled lawsuits.
"They've got money now, so they can just do mischief,"
Delaney said. "How long are we going to put up with it? What
happened in 1992 is something we didn't know about. I didn't know
until 2000. I knew nothing about it. And now they're talking ...
about me having lied to them. It's very discouraging to have this
dragging on and on, and, I think, very unfair."
IN THE KNOW
1967: Ordained in the Worcester, Mass., Diocese.
1985: Placed on leave of absence from the Worcester Diocese after
providing wine to a 15-year-old boy, who accused Teczar of sexually
1988: Begins work in the Fort Worth Diocese.
1991: Convicted in Worcester of contributing to the delinquency
of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
1993: Resigns from St. Rita Catholic Church in Ranger as police
investigate sexual abuse of children.
1996: Sued by a Massachusetts man claiming sexual abuse.
2002: Sued by a second Massachusetts man claiming sexual abuse.
2003: Indicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and
one count of indecency with a child in Eastland County, based on
a criminal complaint by a man now living in Abilene. The Abilene
man and Wade Driskill sue Teczar and the Fort Worth Diocese. Sued
by a third Massachusetts man claiming sexual abuse.
2005: The Fort Worth Diocese agrees to pay $4.1 million to settle
the lawsuit by Driskill and the Abilene man.
About this project
The Star-Telegram spent more than six weeks examining hundreds
of documents and depositions that were part of a 2003 lawsuit filed
against the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, along with previous
lawsuits filed against the Rev. Thomas Teczar. Many of the records
and depositions were obtained from Dallas attorney Tahira Khan Merritt,
who represented John Doe II.
Other information was obtained from the Fort Worth Diocese, the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Massachusetts courts and more
than a dozen interviews.
To comment on this article, contact staff writer Darren Barbee
at (817) 685-3818 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or assistant metro editor Sonny Bohanan at (817) 685-3825 or email@example.com.