The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Texas priest found guilty; sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP National Outreach director 314-862-7688
We are grateful to all the brave victims who had the courage to report these crimes and the wisdom to call law enforcement. We applaud the prosecutor who had pursued this case. Fr. Thomas Teczar is a dangerous predator who has molested innocent children in two states. We hope that he will be behind bars for many years. When predators are locked up children are safe.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 20 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home) Barbara Blaine, SNAP Founder and President 312-399-4747
Priest convicted of sexually abusing boy in Ranger in '90s
For a second time, the Rev. Thomas Teczar has been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy in Ranger in the 1990s, special prosecutor Tahira Khan Merritt with the Eastland County district attorney's office said today.
In 2007, Teczar was sentenced to 25 years in prison -- but his conviction on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child was overturned on appeal.
Thursday, on the fourth day of his retrial, an Eastland County jury took less than an hour to find that Teczar raped and molested an 11-year-old boy in Ranger in the early 1990s. Ranger is about 90 miles west of Fort Worth.
In the Catholic priest's first trial, State District Judge Steven Herod decided the verdict and sentence. Teczar, who elected to have a jury for his second trial, will now have it decide his punishment. He faces up to life in prison.
During the trial, Daniel Hawley, Teczar's adult male lover, testified that the priest did not abuse the boy.
Hawley is serving 35 years for molesting the boy as well as several other children in Ranger.
Teczar has said he knew Hawley and another man were abusing children, but did not report it to police. "I didn't know I had an obligation to do that," Teczar told the Star-Telegram in 2005.
Teczar is in the process of being defrocked at the request of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese.
The jury resumes deliberation in the punishment phase at 2:30 p.m.
The 11th Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in the first trial, finding that the trial court erred by allowing a witness -- a man who said Teczar abused him -- to testify as an expert about the sexual abuse of children.
The trial court erred by admitting the man as an expert in the psychology and behavior of those who commit child sexual abuse and their victims, the appellate court ruled. The man "lacked the qualifications to testify as an expert and ... his testimony was not supported by evidence of any scientific theory," the appeals court found.
DARREN BARBEE, 817-390-7126
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests