April 02, 2005
Fort Worth Diocese agrees to pay $1.4 million in abuse case
April 2, 2005 [Associated Press]
A Texas man who alleged that a priest now living in Massachusetts molested him when he was a minor will be paid $1.4 million by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, court records indicate.
Details of the out-of-court settlement were included in court documents filed last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday.
The lawsuit against the dioceses of Fort Worth and Worcester, Mass., contended that Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney knew that the Rev. Thomas Teczar posed a threat to children because of a "sexual interest" in adolescents, according to court documents.
Before moving to the Fort Worth area, Teczar had worked as a priest in the Worcester Diocese, where he was forced out after being accused of inappropriate behavior with a teenage boy.
Diocese spokesman Jeff Hensley declined to comment Friday and said Delaney could not speak because he was ill.
As part of the lawsuit, Delaney gave a deposition in which he said he was aware of the allegations against Teczar before bringing him to Fort Worth and that Teczar had admitted to Delaney his sexual feelings for adolescent boys.
Teczar worked at parishes in Fort Worth, Bedford and Ranger from the late 1980s until 1993, court documents state. A man who answered the phone at Teczar´s home in Dudley, Mass., declined to comment. Teczar is no longer practicing as a priest.
In February, Teczar denied the allegations in a telephone interview with the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.
Daniel J. Shea of Houston, an attorney representing the man who says Teczar molested him, said the size of the settlement is commensurate with the damage done to his client. His client is identified by the name John Doe in court filings.
"Bishop Delaney was gracious and apologetic," Shea said. "I think they were sincere. And a measure of sincerity is when you put your money where your mouth is."
The lawsuit alleged that Teczar groped and raped two minor boys beginning in the early 1990s when he was serving as parish priest in Ranger, which is part of the Fort Worth Diocese.
Since its founding in 1969, the Fort Worth Diocese has settled one other sexual abuse case for $12,500. Shea said that some or all of the $1.4 million settlement could be paid by the church´s insurance.
Shea said he believes that the Fort Worth Diocese is responsible for the entire settlement amount. A report published in the Worcester newspaper quoted Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus as saying that his diocese will not pay any of the settlement because it had no responsibility for Teczar.
Raymond Delisle, spokesman for the Worcester Diocese, could not be reached for comment.
The dioceses and Teczar are still being sued by another Texas man who was part of the lawsuit. His part of the case is pending in a Fort Worth court.
Teczar has been charged in Eastland County with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child with sexual contact, according to the Eastland County Sheriff´s Department. Teczar said last year that he did not abuse anyone and that the church is a target because it has money.
Posted by joshua at April 2, 2005 01:08 AM