The headquarters of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in Texas, was intervened today by local and federal police investigating the Catholic priest Manuel Antonio La Rosa López, accused of sexual abuse of a minor twenty years ago.
According to Bret Ligon, attorney general of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, investigators are collecting printed and electronic material to continue the investigation.
“We are here because we want to analyze all the documents of the administrative staff that indicate any act (…) that leads to crimes and offenses committed,” Ligon said at a press conference outside the Archdiocese.
The official said that the Catholic Church has collaborated at all times with the investigations and reiterated that the operation, focused on the accusations against Father La Rosa, could be extended to other counties in the state, where more victims could arise.
For its part, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced through a press release that it is collaborating with the authorities and that “for now we will not comment on the case” while it is a matter of investigation.
La Rosa, 60, of Peruvian origin, was arrested in September on four counts of indecency with a minor in Montgomery County in 1998.
He is currently on probation after paying a bond of $ 375,000.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Texas pronounced itself in a statement in which it accepted to have received denunciations on the part of the family of a minor who accused La Rosa of touching it inappropriately.
“We immediately forward this information to Child Protection Services for further investigation,” the statement said.
However, he adds that La Rosa denied the accusations and that the minor’s family “decided not to pursue the matter and moved out of the country” that same year.
After an internal review, which included the filing of accusations prior to the creation in 2003 of the Review Commission of the Archdiocese, La Rosa was allowed to return to parish ministry in 2004, according to the Archdiocese.
According to one of the two complaints filed with Montgomery County, La Rosa abused a child under the age of 17 between 1998 and 2000, when he was a priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic parish in Conroe, Texas.
On one occasion, according to the document, the priest asked the child to move some things from the sacristy to his bedroom, where “he showed him photographs of half-naked men who had participated in a seminar.”
The next appearance of La Rosa in court will be on January 10 of next year.
With this, there are four operations carried out in recent weeks to the parishes where La Rosa was assigned as a priest, in the cities of Richmond, Conroe and Splendora, all in Texas (EFEUSA).