March 15, 2005

Top Catholics subpoenaed

The Dallas Morning News

08:42 PM CST on Tuesday, March 15, 2005

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

Two prominent representatives of the Dallas Catholic Diocese appeared under subpoena before a grand jury Tuesday, one of the diocese's lawyers said.

But courthouse sources and others said more may be at stake. They suggested that the secret proceeding, which lasted more than three hours, was part of the district attorney's broader criminal investigation of how area Catholic officials handle sexual misconduct allegations.

One of the subpoena targets the Rev. Ramon Alvarez, the Dallas cathedral's head pastor has no apparent connection to the Grand Prairie church where the Rev. Matthew Bagert was arrested.

Father Alvarez is, however, a longtime close associate of Father Bagert's, who is free on bail and suspended from duty. Police said the two were out of town together for about two days immediately before the arrest. ...

One new tool prosecutors are using is a Web site www that allows people to report tips anonymously to authorities around the country. The program, unlike anonymous phone calls, provides for continuing communication that can be necessary to verify information.

Members of a Catholic family in Massachusetts started the site, saying that they wanted to do something to combat abuse in their church. Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill has embraced the idea, VictimPower legal adviser Stephen Galebach said.

Posted by kshaw at March 15, 2005 08:51 PM