A former Texas priest will spend 10 years in jail after the courts found him guilty on two charges of second-degree felony indecency with a child.
Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who served as a priest at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church before he was removed from ministry following the initial allegations, was sentenced yesterday after years of court battles.
One male victim told police that La Rosa-Lopez touched him repeatedly — and then with more severity — beginning when he was a child. Another female victim said he inappropriately touched her. Another male victim said La Rosa-Lopez exposed himself in a confessional booth shortly after the boy, then 15, told him he was gay.
All things told, there were at least five charges against the priest from four alleged victims. La Rosa-Lopez took a plea deal connected with two of the victims and pleaded guilty last month. After yesterday’s sentencing, he’ll spend the next decade in jail. He’ll be eligible for parole in five years.
His sentencing, however, shouldn’t absolve the Catholic Church for doing nothing about the abuse. Said one of the victims:
“Because we don’t talk about it, it happens, and because we don’t talk about it, it allows for the church to move these priests around without anyone making much noise,” he said. “The church needs to confront it. The church needs to stop neglecting these victims.“
It’s an old story that, unfortunately, has never faded away. The Catholic Church wants people to think these kinds of stories occurred many decades ago, and they involved priests who are either dead or no longer working in the Church. That’s not the case at all. The culture created by Church leaders has led to countless sexual abuse incidents that the victims are still dealing with today.
(Thanks to Scott for the link)