Texas Woman Files Lawsuit Against Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and Diocese of Victoria, SNAP Stands in Support
A Victoria-area woman has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and one of its priests, as well as the Diocese of Victoria and a Victoria school. The complaint accuses the clergyman of sexually abusing the woman’s daughter. We stand in support of this mother and her brave child and we hope that this lawsuit will force Catholic officials in Texas to reckon with the ongoing scourge of child sexual abuse and take steps to protect other young lives.
Amber Moreno reported to Catholic officials in November of 2018 that Fr. Phi Nguyen inappropriately touched her daughter during a mock confession. At the time, the victim was a student at Nazareth Academy in Victoria, TX, and Fr. Nguyen was working there as a chaplain. Despite Amber’s report, no action was taken by Church leaders in either Victoria, where the abuse is reported to have occurred, or Galveston-Houston, where Fr. Nguyen was ordained.
A report was also made to local police. Unfortunately, law enforcement declined to investigate because they did not believe it met all the elements of a crime. Undeterred, Amber took her story to the media to warn other unsuspecting parents about what happened to her daughter and to protect other children. Ultimately, the Victoria Police Department did conclude that Amber’s original report met the elements of a crime and decided to reopen that original case in light of new testimony from the victim. Without Amber’s willingness to speak out, this would not have happened, and we applaud her and support her in her fight for justice and prevention.
Given how Catholic officials in Houston have responded to other cases of ongoing abuse in the past couple of years, we are not surprised that they ignored these complaints. We applaud Amber and her daughter for making these allegations public and warning other parents and parishioners, simple steps that were apparently too much for Archdiocesan leaders in Houston. We hope that news of this lawsuit will encourage others who may have been hurt by Fr. Nguyen or other priests in Victoria or Galveston-Houston to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.
(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)