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The Texas Shuffle: 17 Priests Listed in Multiple Dioceses 

On January 31, 2019 all 15 Catholic Dioceses in Texas released lists of the names of priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. 

There were 302 names released from the 15 dioceses in Texas, but that number is a tad misleading because 17 of the priests named are also included in other diocesan lists. When accounting for the 17 duplicated names, the unique number of credibly accused sex offender priests in Texas is 279 (with at least four named on dioceses outside of Texas as well). 

Twelve of the 15 dioceses in Texas had priests credibly accused in more than one diocese. The only dioceses without duplicates (that we know of) are Brownsville, Laredo and Tyler (shown in green on the map of Texas dioceses above). 

This disheartening revelation is significant because it shows the shuffling of known sexual predators to unsuspecting Catholics throughout Texas. The Texas dioceses have not made public if they collaborated on the creation of the lists, so it is unclear if they knew they shared offenders, but it is unlikely they did not know.

 

Catholic dioceses require incoming priests to complete a form with all personnel data one would expect from any human resource office in an organization. It includes basic demographic information like date of birth and date of ordination, religious order (if applicable), superior or bishop, universities and seminaries attended with dates and degrees and all previous assignments including dates. 

 

The Archdiocese of San Francisco include one such intake form on their website. The Personal Data Form shows the information collected from its priests.

 

In addition to the personnel form, the dioceses that deemed an accusation to be credible would have had an inquiry and canonical trial to come to that designation. That investigation and penal process is codified in the Canon Laws of the Church which are the fundamental legislation guiding such investigations. The documentation and evidence required includes dates of assignments. In other words, the Texas dioceses have all the information on the priests they named. And yet, the information is so inconsistent it seems to be intentional. Only three of the 17 priests have dates of assignments given for all dioceses in which they served. 

 

Is this a deliberate obfuscation to hide horrific details that would inform the public about the intentional transferring of a known predator from one diocese to another? It must be the case because it is virtually impossible that the 12 dioceses in Texas with duplicated names did not have access to the data that are missing from their lists. 

The tables below show each of the 17 duplicated priests who appear on more than one diocesan list of credibly accused clergy. Note the disparate and incomplete data for each diocese reporting on the same priest.   

Clergy with credible accusations in more than one Texas diocese 

Rev. Thomas Behnke: Diocese of Dallas and Archdiocese of San Antonio

Rev. John Fiala: Diocese of Corpus Christi and Archdiocese of San Antonio

Rev. James Fitzpatrick: Diocese of Dallas and Diocese of Fort Worth

Rev. Antonio Gonzalez, OMI: Archdioceses of Galveston-Houston and San Antonio

Rev. Gabriel Hentrich: Diocese of Dallas and Archdiocese of San Antonio

Rev. Patrick Hoffman: Dioceses of Amarillo and Diocese of Lubbock

Rev. David Holley: Dioceses of Amarillo, El Paso and San Antonio

Rev. William Hoover: Dioceses of Dallas and Diocese of Forth Worth

Rev. John A. Howlett: Diocese of Amarillo and Diocese of Fort Worth

Rev. Patrick Koch: Diocese of Corpus Christi and Diocese of Dallas

Rev. Galeb Mokarzel, OMI: Diocese of San Angelo and Archdiocese of San Antonio

Rev. Alfredo Prado, OMI: Dioceses of Amarillo, Corpus Christi, San Angelo, Victoria and Archdiocese of San Antonio

Rev. Guido Quiroz: Diocese of El Paso and Diocese of Victoria

Rev. James Reilly: Diocese of Dallas and Diocese of Fort Worth

Rev. Christopher Joseph Springer, CSsR: Diocese of Corpus Christi and Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Rev. Joseph Tully: Diocese of Beaumont and Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Rev. Andrew Willemsen, CM: Diocese of Austin and Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston