The Catholic Diocese Sexual Assault Crisis Continues

Last week, a former Dallas priest was arrested after being accused of molesting several children in the 1980s. Richard Brown, among the 31 priests on the “credibly accused” list the Dallas Catholic Diocese released in January of 2019, was wanted on the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The arrest warrant was issued last Tuesday and Brown was taken into custody at approximately 7 pm that following Wednesday.

Brown, who has been formally removed from the clergy, served at several churches in North Texas, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Philip, Holy Family of Nazareth, Our Lady of the Lake, and St. Mark the Evangelist.

Brown was arrested at a property 30 miles southwest of St. Louis, owned by the Servants of Paraclete. The Servants of Paraclete maintain that site as a “safe and supportive environment for the rehabilitation and reconciliation of priests and religious brothers.” The site also houses six registered sex offenders, according to Missouri’s sex-offender registry.

Brown, along with four other priests, was at the center of an investigation by the Dallas police into abuse allegations and obtained a search warrant to raid indecent offices in May of last year. . Two diocese officials contacted Detective David Clark last September, urging him to find and arrest Brown, and informed the police that according to Brown’s attorney, he was with relatives in Delaware at the time.

The DFW chapter of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, commented that “This case is yet another example that belies the claims of church officials that the sexual abuse crisis is in the past […] Sadly, children continue to be put at risk in parishes across the country because church officials themselves refuse to be open and transparent with parishioners, the public and law enforcement about allegations of clergy sexual abuse.”

So, when did this all start? In 1994, Brown was forced out of Our Lady of the Lake when a young woman told church leaders that Brown had abused her in 1981. Once the accusations emerged, Brown underwent therapy and served in adult-only ministries. Even though the diocese concluded that Brown had abused someone, he continued to work as a priest in New York, managing the Trinity Retreat Center for clergy.

Even though the spokesperson only addressed one victim, Brown’s personnel file, which the diocese released to the police prior to last year’s raid, showed that Brown admitted to molesting two children. When Detective Clark finally reached Brown in Pecos, New Mexico, he identified victims who hadn’t been mentioned in his personnel profile, detailing that he had sexually abused as many as 50 children. It should be noted that Brown was not investigated, nor prosecuted for any sexual assault against children.

Here at Forester Haynie, we are actively working to support victims of clergy sexual assault. As we speak, we are submitting claims in both California and Colorado. If you or a loved one has been abused by a member of the clergy, know that we are here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at any time at 214-210-2100 to speak to one of our attorneys. We understand that privacy and discretion are of the utmost importance in cases such as these, which is why we are proud to offer free and confidential case evaluations.

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