Abusive Catholic Priest Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison, SNAP Applauds Decision
A Conroe, TX, Catholic priest who was charged with multiple counts of indecency with a child has pleaded guilty to his crimes and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. We are grateful for this result and know that children are safer thanks to this conviction.
Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez abused multiple children while he was the parish priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe and now he will spend the next decade behind bars. It is incredibly rare for clergy abusers to see jail time for their crimes and we applaud the brave victims who came forward to ensure that this dangerous man would face justice. We believe that these survivors have surely saved other children from the lifelong scourge of sexual abuse and hope that they will now be able to focus on their own healing. Parents and parishioners should be grateful to these victims for stepping forward.
SNAP in Houston has been asking for a speedy resolution to this case for more than a year, urging Fr. LaRosa Lopez to plead guilty and spare these survivors the pain of a trial and public testimony. SNAP Houston has also been asking Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to meet with them to discuss his current child protection plan and how to ensure that no other boys and girls in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are victimized by men like Fr. LaRosa Lopez. Now that this case is over, we hope that Cardinal DiNardo will take our leaders up on that request.
It remains incredibly disturbing to us that the victims in this case reported their abuse to the Archdiocese, but law enforcement officials say that no report was ever forwarded to them. We hope the police and the district attorney are looking into this to determine why they never received a report and that they will pursue criminal charges where possible.
This is yet another example of how secular society, not Catholic officials, are the ones looking out for children in the pews. We hope that anyone with knowledge or suspicions about clergy abuse in Galveston-Houston will go to law enforcement and make a report, especially if they have previously reported these crimes to Archdiocesan officials.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)