Cardinal DiNardo Should Ask Abusive Conroe Priest to Plead Guilty
An allegedly abusive priest from Conroe County is due in court on Thursday for the next phase of his trial. We believe that church officials can and should spare his victims the pain of that trial and should encourage the priest to plead guilty instead.
Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez will be back in court on Thursday following his indictment in May on three counts of indecency with a child. He has now been charged with five counts from three separate victims. The incidents for the five counts occurred in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. There is also a fourth victim who went to the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston in 1992 with an accusation, but this incident occurred outside of the window of the Statute of Limitations. If the church had been responsible at that time, they would have removed Fr. LaRosa Lopez from ministry, preventing the three victims in the criminal case from being sexually abused, changing their lives forever. Given this information, we feel that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo should use his power to help spare the pain and expense of a trial and encourage Fr. LaRosa Lopez to plead guilty.
Priests take a vow of obedience, so if Cardinal DiNardo demanded that Fr. LaRosa Lopez take this step, he would be required to do so. And the church continues to pay Fr. LaRosa Lopez’s expenses, including legal fees. If church officials in Houston really care about victims the way they claim to do publicly, they should be looking for ways to ensure Fr. LaRosa Lopez is kept away from children in the future and for survivors of his abuse to receive the validation they deserve.
For the concern of survivors and the protection of others in the future, Cardinal DiNardo should make this demand today.
CONTACT: Michael D. Norris, SNAP Houston (firstname.lastname@example.org, 713-855-9178), Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston (email@example.com, 832-641-6319), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(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)