Authorities in Texas have raided a rehabilitation center that treats priests involved in sex-related crimes in search of evidence in a recent abuse case.
Police were looking for more evidence against Manuel La Rosa-Lopez (above), a former Texas priest who was recently arrested on four count of indecency with a child. One of his two alleged victims came forward in part because he heard other reports of priests abusing kids and felt compelled to go public with his own story.
Now law enforcement officials are seeking more evidence — and perhaps more victims — at the Shalom Center.
It was not known what specific evidence was collected from the Shalom Center off Morgan Drive. According to a 1995 U.S. Conference of Bishops survey on treatment centers, the location deals with priests involved in sex-related crimes.
At least 25 officials from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Conroe Police Department, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers were on the scene.
Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, a former priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, turned himself into the Montgomery County Jail on Sept. 11 after the Conroe Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest. He is charged with four counts of indecency with a child. The alleged incidents span several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
This is interesting for a number of reasons, including the fact that these types of rehabs even exist. I had no idea there were rehab centers that specifically address child sex abuse by various religious figures.
It’s also unique because of the scale of the raid. 25 members of law enforcement? That’s not typical unless they had more of a hunch than they’re letting on, but there is a hint as to what they were looking for and it’s because Lopez likely received treatment at Shalom Center after allegations against him first surfaced.
Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Special Crime Bureau Chief Tyler Dunman said it is believed Lopez received treatment at the facility at some point. He added it was not clear what type of treatment the priest received.
“(Our) coming here is a result of a search of the location in Fort Bend and sacred Heart Catholic Church. We believe there are documents here that would be important to our investigation into this priest. We are getting a lot of good calls and referrals to our office as well as Conroe Police Department with information and we are asking the public to continue to come forward.”
There’s no telling what they found at this facility, but I’m guessing they didn’t send dozens of officers there to retrieve nothing. If whatever they discover leads to new charges, we’ll post updates.