Dallas police investigation into sex abuse claims by priests stalled while attorneys sort through records

Six months after Dallas police raided Dallas Catholic Diocese offices for records related to allegations of sexual abuse by priests, the investigation appears stalled.

Attorneys for the diocese and the city of Dallas are sorting through the records seized in the May 15 raid on diocesan property to determine which ones involve the five priests named in the search warrant, according to documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

State District Judge Brandon Birmingham, who signed the search warrant for the records, ordered that Dallas police must return all records that are not related to the investigation or any record that “exceeds the scope of the search warrant as written,” court records show. Some records are exempt from disclosure because they are protected by attorney-client privilege.

The court said the diocese and the police have until Dec. 6 to complete their review of the seized documents.

Annette Taylor, spokeswoman for the Dallas diocese, said some records have already been returned.

“The concern is that documents were indiscriminately seized," Taylor said. "The boxes that were taken included operational documents, business matters, and cemetery records, etc. The judge has determined that documents beyond the scope of the warrant were improperly taken and has ordered their return. These documents are important to the operational and day-to-day affairs of the diocese.”

The Dallas Police Department said in an email that the department is not yet reviewing the records, but attorneys for the city and the diocese are reviewing the records at the department’s headquarters to determine what should be excluded.

“These investigations are complex processes and the Dallas Police Department continues to investigate all accusations of abuse,” the departm...

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