Catholic parishioners and abuse survivors brace for Houston-Galveston clergy abuse list

Nick Natario Image
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Parishioners and abuse survivors brace for clergy abuse list
Parishioners and church abuse survivors are anxiously awaiting a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse from the Houston area.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Parishioners and church abuse survivors are anxiously awaiting a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse from the Houston area.

The Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston said it will release its list by the end of January. It's a list that has been a work-in-progress since September.

That's been four long months for Michael Norris.

"It's very emotional for all survivors, because what a survivor really wants is to be heard, and to be believed and to see the name of your perp on a list is going to be fulfilling for some of these survivors," Norris said.

Norris leads Houston's Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP. It's a group offering support to survivors across the globe.

Here in the United States, Norris said dioceses across the country have released lists. Sometimes he said the church's list is below the actual number. He's hoping the Houston-Galveston list is accurate.

"With a diocese of this size, based on statistics we've done, we should see 185 to 250 priests accused in this diocese," Norris said.

The Houston-Galveston process started in September after Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, of Conroe, was charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

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It's a process not just being done in southeast Texas. Fifteen dioceses from across the state will release a list by Thursday, which will include names from the past 70 years. The church said it's doing so to promote healing and restoration.

Some parishioners told Eyewitness News their priests talked about the list over the weekend. In addition to names, the diocese told Eyewitness News it'll include information for parishioners to get help.

"I just hope it's not anyone I know," church member Gus Zebeda said. "I really, truly don't. All my friends go to church and they know there's some that have been abused and I pray for them."

Church authorities aren't the only ones working on this. Two months ago, Montgomery County investigators removed items from the diocese's office. It's an investigation survivors believe could provide more names than the church is willing to admit.

"That's what the Catholic Church wants us to think, it's over," Norris said. "We shared the list. Well, it's not going to be a complete list. We know that."

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