SNAP Applauds Sentencing of Conroe Priest and Demand Answers from Archdiocese
Clergy abuse survivors and supporters from SNAP gathered today at the sentencing of an abusive priest from Conroe, TX to show support for victims of clergy abuse and ensure that parishioners and the public are better informed about the extent of clergy abuse in Houston.
While they are grateful that Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez is no longer able to hurt other children, they are concerned about enablers within the Houston archdiocese and fear there are other priests still working who pose a danger to children and vulnerable adults.
“We are elated to know that this terrible saga is coming to an end with the sentencing of Manuel La Rosa Lopez and that he will be spending the next 10 years behind bars,” said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, leader of SNAP Houston. “We want to wish the best for his victims as they continue on their healing journey which unfortunately will last the rest of their lives.”
At the same time, SNAP Houston wants to be sure that other wrongdoers associated with LaRosa Lopez are not able to put other children in harm’s way. “Let us remind everyone that (Father) Manuel La Rosa Lopez remains a priest in the Galveston-Houston Diocese even with his admission of guilt,” said Lopez de Casas. “Now that LaRosa Lopez has been sentenced, the question that still needs to be answered is ‘why did Cardinal Daniel DiNardo allow this priest to continue in his ministry even after he knew of the accusations?’
This case is an example that the abuse crisis is not a thing of the past like church officials often claim. Victims of sexual abuse typically take years, often decades, to come forward and make a report of their abuse. This fact, combined with the recent inaction from church officials in Houston, underscore the critical need for a secular investigation into clergy abuse as has been done in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey. Parents and parishioners in Texas deserve transparency and answers.
SNAP is calling on church officials in Houston to explain their mishandling of the LaRosa Lopez case publicly. In order to protect children and show support for victims, church officials must be doing everything within their power to ensure another case like LaRosa Lopez’s is not allowed to happen.
(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)