US Catholic Bishops’ Conference head’s office raided

US Catholic Bishops’ Conference head, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has had his office raided by prosecutors investigating a sexual abuse case.

The accused priest is from the Houston archdiocese which DiNardo leads.

DiNardo is also heading the Church’s response to sexual misconduct in the US.

The intensifying investigation has raised questions about how DiNardo and his staff dealt with complaints against Fr Manuel La Rosa-Lopez.

La Rosa-Lopez is accused by two people of fondling them two decades ago when they were teenagers.

Both victims say they have met with DiNardo but felt he didn’t take their complaints about La Rosa-Lopez seriously.

The County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, whose office conducted the search, says authorities were looking for employment records and disciplinary records related to La Rosa-Lopez and anything that might lead to the discovery of other potential crimes.

“This is not a search warrant against the Catholic Church,” Ligon says.

“We’re going to go wherever the investigation requires us to go.”

The archdiocese issued a statement saying it was fully cooperating with the investigation and confirmed it holds “confidential documents kept in a secure manner for the protection of the privacy of individuals.”

Prosecutors have also searched three other Catholic institutions around Houston:

  • Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe, where La Rosa-Lopez was assigned when the abuse allegedly occurred
  • the Shalom Center in Splendora, where church officials acknowledged La Rosa-Lopez received treatment
  • St John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond, where La Rosa-Lopez was a priest until his arrest.

La Rosa-Lopez’s attorney, Wendell Odom, says his client has denied the sexual abuse allegations.

He questioned why prosecutors conducted an on-site search instead of requesting documents through a subpoena, calling it “a little bit alarming.”

Source

News category: World.

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