Houston Priest Spent Time at Servants of the Paraclete Treatment Center
Attribution: "Houston Priest Spent Time at Servants of the Paraclete Treatment Center" by Siobhan Fleming, PhD, Fleming Research & Consulting is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Rev. Nicholas Cornelius Antle was included in the list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor released by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (ADGH) on January 31, 2019. The fact that he was arrested for public lewdness two years into retirement is not the most troubling piece of his history. It's that his arrest for public lewdness came after he spent four years at a treatment center run by the Servants of the Paraclete - known in Church circles as "camp pedo."
Antle was born in Baytown, Texas in 1934 (birth name Nicholas Neal Antle). He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown in 1952 and entered St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte, Texas. The seminary was moved to Houston in 1954 and Antle graduated from St. Mary's Seminary, Houston in 1959.
Antle was ordained in 1959 by Bishop Louis J. Reicher, D.D., St. Mary's Cathedral in Galveston. The background information on Antle provided by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston includes his year of birth, ordination year, the year of his retirement and his status of, "Removed from Ministry: 2011."
Of note is the fact that Antle’s time in the seminary overlapped with four other priests on the ADGH list: Rev. Joseph Leduc (class of 1955), Rev. Robert Barzyk, (class of 1958), Rev. Jesse Linam (class of 1960) and Rev. David Burns, (class of 1961)
The seven assignments for Antle provided by the Archdiocese do not include dates, but through a review of the Official Catholic Directories and the Directories for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, I have provided the information for six of Antle's seven assignments (see below).
The only assignment that is not verifiable in directories or public records is the last one shown, St. Vincent de Paul, Houston. The ADGH clergy disclosure list shows Antle as, “In Residence,” at St. Vincent de Paul, Houston. The phrase is used by the Church to indicate that the priest is not assigned to work in the parish, but lives in the rectory. It is also often used for priests who have been sent to treatment following an allegation of sexual abuse. There is no information available either from the archdiocese or elsewhere to indicate when Antle lived at St. Vincent de Paul.
Another phrase used by the Church to account for a priest’s whereabouts in the published directories is, “On Sick Leave.” Antle had that designation in the 1986 directory for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. He is listed as, "On Sick Leave,” but he is also shown as, "In Residence: St. Rose of Lima, Houston. Antle was labeled with two of the most often used code words the Church employs for listing priests following an incident or allegation of sexual abuse.
Antle has two public records of criminal arrests. The first was for Driving Under the Influence in Houston on May 30, 1972. At that time he was the Assistant Pastor at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston. He was convicted and sentenced to one-year probation.
At the time of his second arrest 20 years later on December 4, 1992, Antle was listed in the diocesan directory as, “Retired, St. Dominic Village, 2402 Dixie Dr., Houston.” That arrest was more problematic for the diocese because it was sexual in nature: Public Lewdness. Antle received deferred adjudication pending one-year probation and a $200 fine.
The timing of his 1992 lewdness arrest is all the more egregious because Antle spent four years at a treatment center for priests in the Diocese of San Bernardino prior his arrest. Although the ADGH did not publicize his time at the treatment center, it did list a specific address for Antle during the four years following his 1986 “Sick Leave.” The Archdiocesan directories for 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990 list Antle as, "Out of Diocese" with an address of 39100 Orchard St., Cherry Valley, CA. His directory listing did not include the name of a parish associated with that address. However, it is the documented address of the Servants of the Paraclete Treatment Center in Cherry Valley, CA.
The San Bernardino Sun reported on the treatment center January 31, 2019. Reporter Joe Nelson interviewed attorney J. Michael Reck, who said,
From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, the Servants of the Paraclete, operated a treatment center in Cherry Valley for sexually abusive priests...Church documents refer to the former facility as a ‘halfway house for priests requiring aftercare and ongoing spiritual, psychotherapeutic, and pastoral supervision.’
The treatment center, and its address of 39100 Orchard St, Cherry Valley, CA, were included in a review of treatment centers commissioned in 1995 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Accountability has published the document on their website: Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse Second Report and Evaluation of Treatment Centers, November 1995.
In 2001 the Servants of the Paraclete closed the facility in Cherry Valley and sold the property.
With this background information about Antle, further questions arise for the Archdiocese:
When was Fr. Antle in residence at St. Vincent de Paul?
Why was he removed from ministry in 2011?
What was the catalyst for his 1986 sick leave and subsequent four years with the Servants of the Paraclete?
When did the Archdiocese receive the accusation?
How many accusations did the Archdiocese receive about Fr. Antle?
When did the abuse from the credible accusation occur?
What was the age and gender of the victim at the time of the abuse?