April 09, 2005

FW Diocese settles sex-abuse suit

The Dallas Morning News

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

The Fort Worth Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay more than $4 million to settle a sex-abuse lawsuit involving a priest whom Bishop Joseph Delaney hired despite a documented 20-year history of misconduct with minors elsewhere.

Bishop Delaney admitted no wrongdoing in the suit, but it's clear he knew the risks of employing the Rev. Thomas Teczar. The bishop's own notes, surrendered in the suit, say the priest admitted to him before starting work in 1988 that he was "attracted to adolescents in every way, including sexually."

At that time, Father Teczar had been out of work for four years after repeated abuse allegations led to his removal from ministry in Massachusetts and inpatient therapy at a clergy treatment center. He pledged his personal assets to the Fort Worth Diocese in case it was ever sued over his actions, according to church records surrendered in the lawsuit.

Yet the diocese said on its Web site Friday that "there were no allegations of sexual misconduct" against the priest when he came to Fort Worth.

The Web statement added: "When he left the area in 1993 the diocese had no knowledge of sexual misconduct on his part."

Diocese officials declined to comment beyond the statement, which also said that "to the extent Father Thomas Teczar may have injured anyone," Bishop Delaney was "sincerely regretful."

Posted by kshaw at April 9, 2005 08:03 AM