Police are looking into claims of sexual abuse at a church in North Richland Hills after the congregation made the allegations public during its weekend services.
During every mass at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church on Sunday, a letter was read.
The letter said: “The Diocese of Fort Worth has received reports very recently of sexual abuse of children by a layman who is a member of St. John the Apostle parish. The abuse is alleged to have occurred over the last seven or so years.”
North Richland Hills police say it was over the last three to seven years.
"Allegations that happened several years ago,” said investigator Keith Bauman. “Too early to say this has it’s been an ongoing situation.”
Police say the allegations involve three children ages 5 to 10 — children who are now in their teens.
In the letter to parishioners, the church goes on to say: “The allegations of sexual abuse do not involve a priest, or a deacon, but, instead, a lay volunteer. The allegations have come from several victims… reported to have taken place on St. John the Apostle church property, during evening prayer meetings.
"The three allegations were from several years ago that we're looking at,” said Bauman. “That does not mean the case will start that way. We don't know the scope of whether it's going to grow."
Police say two of the alleged cases of sexual abuse happened at the church. The third case occurred in Colleyville at an undisclosed location.
"We're just glad somebody came forward with the accusations because a lot of individuals that become victims of things and never tell anybody” explained Bauman. “And then they live in the shadows, and that's very sad."
North Richland Hills police say no arrests have been made at this time.