Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Priest in North Texas, SNAP Reacts
An arrest warrant has been issued for a former priest from the Diocese of Dallas. We hope that church officials in Dallas will use every resource at their disposal to help law enforcement locate the priest and do outreach to every parish in which he served, encouraging any victims, witnesses, or whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to police.
The arrest warrant for Richard Thomas Brown, a now-defrocked priest from the Diocese of Dallas, was issued on the charge of sexual assault of a child. This crime has only been able to have been prosecuted thanks to the actions of the Dallas Police Department who in May of last year raided several diocesan properties in search of information about possible clergy sex crimes. We are grateful for those members of the DPD because without them it is possible that Brown could still be hurting children elsewhere.
This case is yet another example that belies the claims of church officials that the sexual abuse crisis is in the past. Sadly, children continue to be put at risk in parishes across the country because church officials themselves refuse to be open and transparent with parishioners, the public, and law enforcement about allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
In this case, the Diocese of Dallas defended itself in a statement by saying “In a letter to police in September of 2019 the Diocese of Dallas expressed concern and the hope that he would be arrested.” We can only wonder why this letter was not sent in 2002 when Brown was removed from ministry. How many children have been put at risk because church officials chose to quietly wash their hands of a dangerous abuser like Brown instead of taking steps to warn the public about him and inform police about the allegations against him?
Public statements like the ones issued by church officials in Dallas do nothing to protect children. If Bishop Burns and his colleagues want to show they truly care about preventing abuse and protecting children, they should allow the DPD unfettered access to their records so they can uncover the names of other men like Brown who may be under the radar.
(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)