SNAP Calls Texans to Action as Case Against Conroe Priest Progresses
Earlier this month, a Conroe County Grand Jury indicted allegedly abusive priest Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez. Today, that case moves forward.
We hope that this trial will encourage other survivors in Texas to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and find independent sources of healing. We also hope that this trial sends the message that, while one case may be moving in Conroe County, more work is desperately needed throughout Texas to protect children and vulnerable adults and to support survivors of sexual violence.
We are encouraging Texans across the state to take three steps that can make a difference:
- First, contact Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and urge to him to follow in the footsteps of nineteen other attorneys general around the country and open an investigation into clergy sex abuse. AG Paxton can make a difference by opening a confidential hotline and email address that survivors can use to report their experiences. And while he is soliciting this information, AG Paxton should be passing information on to local district attorneys in an effort to find cases that can be prosecuted. Sample language can be found here.
- Second, contact your county’s District Attorney and urge them to actively reach out to local communities, urging survivors to come forward and make a report of their abuse. District Attorneys can also encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to share any information they might have related to past or ongoing cases of clerical sexual abuse.
- Finally, contact your state representatives and senators and urge them to create or sponsor legislation that will protect children, benefit survivors, and prevent future cases of abuse. For example, reforming statutes of limitations can help survivors find justice where none existed previously and can get important information about abusers into the hands of the public. Similarly, representatives and senators can look to create legislation that would allow AG Paxton to convene a Grand Jury, something that has been effective in other places including most recently in Pennsylvania.
These elected officials are key to the creation and implementation of critical reforms that can help keep the vulnerable in Texas safer, create healing environments for survivors, and find justice for past crimes while preventing future ones. We hope everyone in Texas will take ten minutes out of their day to help create a safer and brighter future for all Texans.
CONTACT: Carol Midboe, SNAP Austin ([email protected], 512-934-3473), Patti Waller Koo, SNAP San Antonio ([email protected], 956-648-7385), Lisa Kendzior, SNAP Dallas ([email protected], 817-773-5907), Paul Petersen, SNAP Board Member ([email protected], 972-569-0995) Michael Norris, SNAP Houston ([email protected], 713-855-9178)
(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)