Authorities who are investigating a former Texas priest arrested on four counts of indecency with a child have decided to relieve the local Catholic Church of the “burden” of cooperating… by raiding their offices.
We first covered the investigation in September, when police arrested Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who was a priest at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church, after two accusers came forward. About a week later, authorities raided a rehabilitation center that treats priests involved in sex-related crimes in search of evidence in the recent abuse case.
Now, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has raided the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the fifth largest diocese in the country. The search was conducted by District Attorney Brett Ligon, who is himself Catholic.
Authorities on Wednesday searched the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for additional evidence in the case of a Conroe priest accused of sexual misconduct, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The search targets included evidence of “secret archives” that may exist at the archdiocese, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said.
“The good thing is, I’ve taken the burden off everybody in the Catholic Church,” he said. “They don’t have to know anything. I’m going to find it all.”
Despite Ligon’s Catholicism, he seems more than willing to root out corruption within the institution.
The search warrant was the fourth one issued in La Rosa-Lopez’s case after Montgomery County authorities previously searched the Conroe church, the Shalom Treatment Center in Splendora and the St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond where La Rosa-Lopez was most recently assigned.
“If there’s something to cover up, I’m sure I’ll find it,” Ligon said. “If it leads to the Vatican, I’ll be headed to Rome.”
The arrest of La Rosa-Lopez on Sept. 11 marked the fourth time a Houston area clergy member is known to have been arrested for an alleged sex abuse crime in nearly four decades. He was charged with four counts of indecency with a child involving a boy and girl who attended the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The alleged abuse spanned three years starting in 1998.
This case seems to go incredibly deep, so I have no doubt Ligon will find something in his search. Of course, the church has already claimed it is cooperating on every level, but there’s only one way to find out for sure.
(Screenshot via YouTube)