Texas Mother Fights for Justice for Her Daughter, Abused by a Priest in Victoria TX
In November of 2018, a Houston-area mother reported that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by a priest during a confession rite at Nazareth Academy. Despite her report, nothing was done by diocesan or school officials.
Amber Moreno's daughter came to her in November 2018 to tell her that she had been grabbed on neck during a confession/blessing and the priest then shoved her head towards his crotch. Concerned, Amber made a report with both the school, Nazareth Academy, and the Victoria Police Department. Despite the report, nothing was done as police chose not to investigate the report, because they believed it did not meet the elements of a crime. School and diocesan officials also chose not to act on Amber’s report.
One person who has acted on Amber’s allegations is a reporter in Austin, TX. With the reporters help, Amber was able to verify more details in the priest's history, including that he had been living at the Sisters of the Incarnate Word Blessed Sacrament Convent in Victoria, TX for the last 20 years before being invited to perform confession rites at Nazareth Academy.
“I went to the media because it was evident that the Catholic Church and the law enforcement in Victoria, Texas were determined to do nothing about what happened to my daughter,” said Amber. “They were not counting on me doing their job for them. Nor were they expecting the divine intervention that took place when I crossed paths with the reporter that verified the priest's history.”
Just this month, Amber’s daughter was able to come forward and tell her the full truth of what happened to her in the Chapel at Nazareth Academy in November 2018. After learning more details of the sexual assault that her daughter experienced, Amber again went to the Victoria Police Department. This time, she met with a different detective who confirmed that Amber’s previous report did meet the elements of a crime and should have been investigated. The newest allegation against the priest is currently being investigated. David P. Matthews and others at Matthews & Associates Law Firm, will be representing Amber for her minor daughter in a civil suit.
“I am beyond disappointed in the breakdown of the system that is in place to protect children, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Law Enforcement of Victoria, Texas,” said Amber. “I want parents of the children at Nazareth Academy to know that they do bring priests onto the campus, and in spite of what they claim to be ‘the best background checks possible,’ some of those priests are known predators.”
CONTACT: Amber Moreno, Mother of Victim (firstname.lastname@example.org), Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston (email@example.com, 832-641-6319), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(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)