TX--Texas priest exposed as predator for first time
For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 30
Statement by Amy Smith, SNAP Dallas Director (281-748-4050, [email protected])
A woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by a Texas priest has settled her child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit. We applaud her and her family for their courage and beg Texas Catholic officials – especially Ft. Worth Bishop Michael Olson - to “come clean” about child molesting clerics.
A lawsuit charged that Father Bede Mitchel repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was eight years old. He was a Benedictine priest working in the Ft. Worth diocese where these crimes took place. Fr. Mitchell also worked in seven Arkansas parishes.
Other proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics who spent time in the Ft. Worth diocese include Fr. James Bernard Hanlon, Fr. Henry Herrera, Fr. William Reece Hoover, Fr. John Howlett, Fr. William Paiz, Fr. Gilbert Albert Pansza, Fr. Tony Pistone, Fr. James Joseph Reilly, Fr. Rudolf John Renteria, Fr. Gerard M. Scholl, Fr. Hugh John Sutton, Fr. Joseph (Ngoc Nguyen) Tu, and Fr. Francis A. Zimmerer.
Ft. Worth Catholic officials should end their secrecy surrounding clergy sex abuse. They should explain why they kept this lawsuit a secret for months, despite repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” about child sex cases by clerics.
The should also “come clean” and disclose the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of every single child molesting cleric who lives or works – or lived or worked – in the state, whether alive or deceased, diocesan or religious order, whether priests, nun or seminarian, and whether they are proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters.
Again, we praise the courage of this victim and her loved ones. We hope her bravery will encourage others who are suffering in shame, secrecy and self-blame to step forward.
When abuse victims stay silent, nothing changes. When we find the strength to speak, at least there’s a chance one child will be spare the horror that we’ve endured.
(The victim is represented by attorney Tahira Khan Merritt, 214-537-3789).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)