Church Against The Horizon

Priest Abuse In Texas

Like many Roman Catholic dioceses across the country, the dioceses in Texas are facing allegations of clergy sexual abuse. The dioceses named nearly 300 priests accused of abuse in Texas.

To support priest abuse survivors, lawmakers extended the state’s civil legal deadline in 2019. Now, child sexual abuse survivors have more time to take legal action in the state of Texas. As a result, many clergy abuse survivors have won compensation and justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Texas?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Like many Roman Catholic dioceses across the country, the dioceses in Texas are facing allegations of clergy sexual abuse. The dioceses named nearly 300 priests accused of abuse in Texas.

To support priest abuse survivors, lawmakers extended the state’s civil legal deadline in 2019. Now, child sexual abuse survivors have more time to take legal action in the state of Texas. As a result, many clergy abuse survivors have won compensation and justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Texas?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Texas Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

Nearly 300 Texas clergy members have been accused of sexually abusing minors. Many of these allegations have resulted in civil lawsuits against the abusers and the responsible dioceses. 

One of the most well-known clergy abuse lawsuits was filed against the Dallas Diocese in the late 1990s. The lawsuit concerned abuse allegations against the former Dallas Diocese priest, Rudolph E. Kos. Kos was named in the civil lawsuit and also faced criminal charges for his crimes. 

Since this case, many survivors have come forward to file their own abuse lawsuits against the Texas dioceses.

Recent Catholic Church Abuse Case In Texas

In October 2020, the Texas Diocese of Corpus Christi was named in two lawsuits, which were filed in Arizona. The lawsuits detail allegations against the Catholic priest Clement A. Hageman. Hageman, now deceased, faces multiple allegations of clergy abuse in Arizona

Although the abuse did not take place in Texas, the Diocese of Corpus Christi is accused of negligence that led to the abuse occurring in Arizona.

According to the lawsuits, in 1939, the bishop of the Corpus Christi Diocese was notified of abuse allegations against Hageman. Rather than remove him from ministry work, the bishop transferred him to Connecticut. Hageman later served in New Mexico before being transferred to Arizona where the alleged abuse took place. 

The lawsuits accuse the Diocese of Corpus Christi of negligence for its role in protecting Hageman despite knowing about his abusive nature. Had the Texas diocese made Hageman’s abuse public, he may never have been given the chance to abuse victims in Arizona. 

These lawsuits are an example of a diocese being named in an out-of-state lawsuit. Similarly, the California Archdiocese of Los Angeles was recently named in an Arizona lawsuit as well.

Clergy Abuse Settlements In Texas

Many of the lawsuits filed against Catholic dioceses in Texas have resulted in monetary settlements for survivors.

1998 | Dallas Diocese Pays Multi-Million Dollar Settlements

In 1997, a Dallas jury awarded 11 plaintiffs $120 million. The money was awarded to 10 abuse survivors and the family of one abuse survivor who committed suicide at the age of 20. The plaintiffs were sexually abused as children by the former Dallas priest Rudolph E. Kos. 

In 1998, the Dallas Diocese settled an appeal of the 1997 verdict, paying $23.4 million total. The survivors chose to take a reduced settlement amount to avoid bankrupting the diocese

In 1998, the diocese also settled with three additional victims for $7.5 million.

2005 | Fort Worth Diocese Pays Multi-Million Dollar Settlements

In 2005, the Diocese of Fort Worth agreed to pay $2.75 million to a clergy abuse victim. The victim was sexually abused by former priest Thomas Teczar. 

It was the second major out-of-court settlement the diocese paid to victims of Teczar’s abuse. The first settlement cost the diocese $1.4 million. 

In 2007, the diocese settled with several more victims of Teczar for an undisclosed amount.

2011 | Corpus Christi Diocese Pays $1.2 Million Settlement

In 2011, the Corpus Christi Diocese settled with three child sexual abuse victims. The men claim they were abused by Hugh Clarke in the 1970s. At the time, Clarke was pastor at the Christ the King Church. The diocese paid the survivors $1.2 million in compensation.

2013 | Beaumont Diocese Settles For Undisclosed Amount

In 2013, the Beaumont Diocese settled with six survivors of priest abuse. The men were all sexually abused as boys by former priest Ronald Bollich. The abuse took place in three different parishes over three decades. 

The settlement amount was never disclosed.

Texas Child Sex Abuse Statutes Of Limitations

In order to seek legal action, a survivor must follow the state’s statute of limitations for the crime. 

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs vary based on the jurisdiction, the crime and the intended legal action (criminal charges versus a civil claim).

Unfortunately, it is common for survivors to miss their opportunity to file a lawsuit because of legal deadlines. Historically, many statutes require survivors to file a claim before they are ready or able to. 

In 2019, recognizing this common roadblock, Texas lawmakers expanded the state’s civil statute for claims of child sexual abuse. The updated statute applies to civil claims filed against abusers and responsible institutions.

Civil Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In TX

As of 2019, child sexual abuse survivors in Texas must file a civil claim before they reach the age of 48. This gives survivors 30 years after they reach the age of 18 to file a legal claim.

You May Have Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About Texas’ Statutes Today

Criminal Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In TX

In the state of Texas, there is no criminal statute for the following crimes:

  • Felony sexual assault
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Sex trafficking

This means people can be prosecuted for these crimes regardless of when they committed the crime.

List Of Accused Priests In Texas

The list below includes the names of clergy members and Texas priests accused of sexual abuse. 

It does not include other diocesan employees or parish volunteers accused of similar abuse claims. However, you may still be eligible to file a case against these individuals or the responsible diocese.

If you were abused by a Catholic priest or another clergy member in Texas, you may have legal rights. Our attorneys are here to help you fight for legal justice.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Lawsuit in Texas

There Are 3 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of Lubbock, TX:

There Are 4 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of Tyler, TX:

There Are 1 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of Victoria, TX:

If you are unable to find a name in our Texas list of accused priests, consider searching our nationwide database of accused clergy members. The priest you are looking for may be listed in another state or diocese.

However, you may still have legal options available, even if your abuser is not listed in our database. Allegations against the abuser may not have been investigated yet. Speak with our experienced lawyers today to learn more about your legal options.

Note: The Texas Diocese of Laredo is not listed above. The diocese was founded in 2000. According to its bishop, there have been no credible allegations of abuse against any of the diocese’s priests in its 19-year history.

History Of Catholic Priest Abuse In Texas

2019 | Dioceses Release List Of Texas Priests Accused Of Abuse

In January 2019, the 15 Catholic dioceses of Texas released a list of credibly accused clergy members. The list named nearly 300 priests facing abuse allegations spanning almost eight decades. 

The list includes the names of 286 priests in 14 dioceses. The Diocese of Laredo reported no credible allegations. 

The Texas news outlet KXAN conducted its own investigation of credibly accused clergy members. The investigation found the 2019 Texas church abuse list failed to include roughly 50 accused clergy members.

Police Raid Dallas Diocese’s Headquarters During Investigation

In May 2019, Dallas police searched the headquarters and several properties owned by the Dallas Diocese. The search was part of an investigation related to the nationwide church sex abuse scandal. 

The goal of the search was to find documentation related to child sexual abuse allegations that had not been turned over to the police.

“Despite assurances from the Diocese’s attorneys the priests’ files were complete and accurate, I also detailed specific examples where those files were not complete and accurate.”

David Clark, Dallas Police DetectiveSearch Warrant Affidavit

The investigation was specifically focused on allegations against at least five former Dallas Diocese clergy members.

Texas Clergy Abuse Victim Resources

If you were abused by a Texas priest or clergy member, you are not alone. There are local and statewide resources available to you. Learn more about sexual violence resources in the state of Texas here.

You may also have legal rights to file a clergy abuse lawsuit. Speak with our experienced attorneys today to determine your options. 

Texas Priest Abuse FAQs

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Priest Sexual Abuse In Texas?

In Texas, survivors of priest abuse must file a civil claim before they reach 48 years of age. Otherwise, they risk losing their right to seek legal action against the priest or responsible diocese. 

Learn more about Texas child sexual abuse statutes here >

Are Pastors Mandated Reporters In Texas?

No. In the state of Texas, clergy members are not designated mandated reporters

However, separate from certain designated professions, Texas law also requires any individual with reason to believe a child is suffering abuse — including sexual abuse — or neglect to make a report immediately. 

Under this section of the state’s mandatory reporting laws, clergy members would be required to report suspected abuse regardless of their profession. 

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In Texas?

Emergency Call Icon

If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.

According to Texas law, any person who suspects a child is or has been abused or neglected must make a report immediately. This includes suspected cases of child sexual abuse. 

To report incidents of child abuse, call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services hotline at 1-800-252-5400. You can also make a report online here

To learn more about reporting child sexual abuse or sexual assault, visit our resource page >

After you report an incident of priest sexual abuse to local authorities, you can also report the abuse to the relevant diocese.

  • Report Abuse To The Archdiocese Of Galveston-Houston

    Call the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, Diane Vines, on her confidential line, at 713-654-5799. You can also email her at [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Archdiocese Of San Antonio

    Call the San Antonio Archdiocese’s Office of Victim Assistance & Safe Environment at 210-734-7786. You can also email the office at [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Amarillo Diocese

    Call the Amarillo Diocese’s Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, Sharyn Delgado, at 806-671-4830. You can also email her at [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Austin Diocese

    Call the Austin Diocese to make a sexual abuse report at 512-949-2447.

  • Report Abuse To The Beaumont Diocese

    Call the Beaumont Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, Becky Richard, at 409-540-8479. You can also email her at [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Corpus Christi Diocese

    Report clergy abuse in the Corpus Christi Diocese by emailing [email protected]. Your report will be sent directly to the diocese’s Director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection.

  • Report Abuse To The Dallas Diocese

    Call Steve Martinez at 210-734-7786 to report abuse. Mr. Martinez is a third-party contact responsible for handling reports made to the diocese.

  • Report Abuse To The El Paso Diocese

    Call the El Paso Diocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Martinez, at 915-872-8465. You can also email her at [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Fort Worth Diocese

    Fill out a confidential notice of concern here or contact the diocese’s Victims’ Assistance Coordinator by calling 817-945-9345.

  • Report Abuse To The Laredo Diocese

    Call the Laredo Diocese’s Safe Environment Coordinator, Letitia Valdez, at 956-764-7808.

  • Report Abuse To The Lubbock Diocese

    Call the Lubbock Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, Oscar Reyes, at 806-543-9178.

  • Report Abuse To The San Angelo Diocese

    Call the San Angelo Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, Lori Hines, at 325-374-7609.

  • Report Abuse To The Tyler Diocese

    Call the Tyler Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator at 903-266-2159 or email [email protected].

  • Report Abuse To The Victoria Diocese

    Call the Victoria Diocese’s Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Outreach, Vicki Pyatt, at 361-827-7186 or email [email protected].

Need Support?

Free, Confidential Case Evaluation.

If you or a loved one have suffered from the physical, mental and emotional effects of institutional sex abuse, you’re entitled to legal representation and possible financial compensation.
Receive your response in 24 hours

Ron Meneo, Managing Partner at Meneo Law Group.

Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo

Ron Meneo is the managing partner of The Meneo Law Group. With more than 40 years of experience, he represents clients across the country on a variety of complex legal matters, including personal injury due to institutional sexual abuse, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and other practice areas. He is a recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious AV® Preeminent Rating. He has also served as an editor and contributor for several legal journals.

Sources [+]