Former Dallas-area priest arrested on charge he sexually assaulted child

A former Dallas-area priest who has been accused of molesting children in the 1980s was arrested in Missouri on Wednesday night.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Richard Thomas Brown, who is in his late 70s, was wanted on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Dallas police issued the arrest warrant Tuesday, and Brown was booked into a Missouri jail about 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Brown was taken into custody in Dittmer, about 30 miles southwest of St. Louis, on property owned by the Servants of the Paraclete. The group operates a center at the site whose mission is to “provide a safe and supportive environment for the rehabilitation and reconciliation of priests and religious brothers.”

Missouri’s sex-offender registry shows that six convicted sex offenders live at the facility.

WFAA-TV (Channel 8) first reported on the warrant for Brown, who was among 31 priests on the “credibly accused” list the Dallas Catholic Diocese released in January 2019.

Brown and four other priests were at the center of a Dallas police investigation into abuse allegations in the Dallas diocese, according to an affidavit police used to obtain a search warrant to raid diocese offices in May.

Two diocese officials wrote in a letter to Detective David Clark in September that they hoped police were working to find and arrest Brown. They said Brown’s attorney had informed them he was with relatives in Delaware.

“News that a warrant for his arrest has been issued fulfills the hope of the diocese that justice will be served,” the diocese said in a written statement Wednesday.

The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in a statement that it hoped church officials would do all that they could to help law enforcement find Brown.

“This case is yet another example that belies the claims of church officials that the sexual abuse crisis is in the past,” the statement from SNAP said. “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 ab...

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