The Diocese of Dallas on Thursday released a list of 31 clergy members who face "credible allegations" of sexually abusing children.
Dallas Bishop Edward Burns led a statewide campaign to identify accused priests. Along with Dallas, Catholic leaders in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, and other parts of Texas published their own lists on Thursday.
To compile the Dallas list, investigators reviewed files of the 2,424 priests who had served in the Dallas Diocese since 1950. A “credible allegation” is one that, "after review of reasonably available, relevant information in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board or other professionals, there is reason to believe is true."
Of the 31 names released, 24 of those were incardinated in the Diocese of Dallas, while the remaining were under the jurisdiction of other dioceses or religious orders. Seventeen people on the list are deceased.
The most notorious name on the Dallas list is Rudy Kos. The convicted child sex abuser is serving a life sentence for molesting altar boys in the 1990s. A separate jury award of $119 million from that case nearly bankrupted the diocese and became a pivotal part of how the diocese arrived at Thursday's disclosure.
Another notable priest, who was listed as suspended, is Edmundo Paredes — the longtime former pastor of St. Cecilia’s Church in Oak Cliff. It’s believed that he fled to his native Philippines.
Matthew Bagert is also on the list. He served time in federal prison for child pornography. Records show is now a registered sex offender living in Plano.
Other names are new. Father Jeremy Myers was a pastor at St. Mary's in Sherman. The diocese has only said it suspended him from ministry last year. Parishioners told the Sherman FOX affiliate that his suspension came just in the last few months.
Alejandro Buitrago was also removed last year. He served at several locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
The diocese said Thursday’s announcement was it following through on a promise it made in October to release the list.
Burns told reporters at a press conference that he feels shame and sorrow for the church’s history of abuse and for not holding abusers accountable.
The diocese said the credible allegations were handed over to law enforcement, but it’s unclear how many of those priests are currently being investigated. The bishop said some of the priests accused in Dallas may also turn up on lists in other diocese and the Dallas list is not closed.
Burns says he relied on retired police officers and federal investigators to review church files to substantiate any claims, leading to the creation of the list. He says it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether or not to bring charges forward on the remaining names.
“While we have gone through great lengths to ensure that this list is exhaustive we know there could be more victims who have not reported their abuse,” Burns said. “We must remain vigilant, we cannot grow lukewarm. I pledge to you that we will do our very best to do what is right.”
Any victims who have not reported their abuse are encouraged to contact law enforcement, or call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. They can also contact Victims Assistance Coordinator, Barbara Landregan, at 214-379-2812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list gives the priests’ names, their status and where they served. It did not give information on when and how allegations were made nor how many allegations there were.
Bishop Burns did not answer specific questions about the cases, noting ongoing investigations.
The Texas Attorney General's Office is aware of the list and says investigators are ready to assist local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors should they need it.
Here is the full list released by the Diocese of Dallas:
- Rudy Kos