Dallas diocese faces criticism for waiting months to make sex assault claims public

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas faces harsh criticism for how it handled allegations of sexual abuse against one it's priests.

The alleged abuse by now-former Reverend Edmundo Paredes happened 10 years ago, but it was only brought to the diocese's attention six months ago. He was a longtime priest at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.

It all comes on the heels of a bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report about hundreds of alleged predator priests accused of preying on children.

At least three men came forward with allegations against the Dallas former priest.

The abuse allegations came to the diocese attention in February. It was the diocese that immediately reported them to police. But some are furious the public is just now learning about it and that the accused priest is missing

One man who says he was victimized as a child by a Dallas priest did not want his name used or face shown. But he is speaking out on behalf of other potential victims through a nationwide group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“I would like to say I’m surprised, but I’m simply not,” the man said. “This has been a dirty secret that’s been going on for decades.”

On Sunday, Dallas Bishop Edward Burns had this to say when a reporter asked specifically why it took six months for the diocese to go public with allegations of sex abuse against Paredes.

“Because when all of this occurs, there are many steps that have to fall into place,” he responded.

Burns said these situations have to be approached methodically.

The recent report by a Pennsylvania grand jury highlighted by State Attorney Josh Shapiro and exposing hundreds of predator priests influenced Bishop Burns’ decision.

“Some ask ‘Well, is it because of the grand jury report that prompted the Diocese of Dallas to bring it forward now?’ And the answer is yes,” Burns said.

“It begs the question if Josh Shapiro did not have his action from Pennsylvania, would this have been news on Sunday?” the victim asked. “And the simple answer is no.”

Late Monday afternoon, the Diocese of Dallas clarified the Bishop’s Sunday comments in a press release. It says Bishop Burns was “prepared to announce the allegations in March” but there was “concern for the victims” who asked that it not be made public.

The statement goes on to say Bishop Burns tried to be sensitive to the victim’s request. But when the Pennsylvania report became public, he decided to inform the public about Paredes.

Dallas Diocese suspends priest over sexual abuse allegations, theft