Prominent Houston Parish Invites Deacon Accused of Sexual Impropriety to Speak
A local Houston church has invited a Catholic deacon to speak about traditional Latin masses, but that deacon was at one time suspended from ministry, reportedly for "failure to comply with the vow of celibacy."
Prince of Peace Church in Houston, TX, has invited Dom. Alcuin (Scott) Reid to speak on November 23. However, the cleric, who is described on the parish’s website as an “author and foremost expert in liturgical studies,” had his faculties as a deacon removed in 1991 by the Archdiocese of Melbourne. According to at least one source, the deacon “made repeated inappropriate and sometimes aggressive sexual advances while in the seminary.” The Australian Church apparently “strenuously and repeatedly urged Scott [Alcuin] Reid to seek laicization,” but he refused to do so. Dom Reid has countered that he asked for a leave of absence. A French bishop later reinstated him as a deacon.
Survivors of clergy abuse, alongside parishioners from Prince of Peace, object to the church’s invitation to Dom Reid, believing that having a presenter with his background is “insensitive to survivors, and outright offensive at worst.”
“Prince of Peace church has had too many abusive priests to invite someone like Dom. Reid to speak,” said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, local SNAP Leader for the Houston area. “The parish surely could have found another expert in Latin rite masses who has not been accused of sexual impropriety.”
Recently, there have been a couple of high-profile cases of clergy abuse at Prince of Peace. Most notable is the case of Fr. John Keller, a priest that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston knew had been accused of abuse since at least 2003, but who only stepped down from ministry in January of this year. Fr. Keller was allowed to continue as a pastor for decades despite the US Catholic bishops adopting a “zero-tolerance policy” in 2002.
Then, with a quiet online announcement in February, Church officials announced that Fr. Alfonso Delgado of Prince of Peace was accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior with an adult (notably, in their announcement, they encouraged victims to report internally instead of to law enforcement. Church officials finally announced the allegation to parishioners publicly in August when Fr. Delgado agreed to step down from the parish while the Archdiocese investigates the allegations.
Decades earlier, in 1991, Fr. Robert Ramon was accused of sexually abusing a young girl from the parish. A lawsuit followed in 1993, and Fr. Ramon was not listed as a working priest after 2002, coincidentally the same year where US Bishops adopted their “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
“Prince of Peace not only has a history of abuse, but also, it seems to us, of disbelieving and ignoring victims,” said Lopez de Casas. “They continue to show their disregard for survivors by inviting Dom. Reid here this weekend. Church officials should be working to keep accused abusers, as well as those who engage in sexual misconduct, away from the parish, not inviting them in.”
SNAP is calling for Catholic leaders at Prince of Peace and in the Archdiocese to explain what vetting process was used in their speaker search, so that a similar situation does not arise again in the future.
(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)