November 17, 2005

Rev. Teczar faces indecent assault charges in Texas

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
kshaw@telegram.com

The Rev. Thomas H. Teczar, a priest of the Worcester Diocese, is expected to face criminal charges involving indecent assault on a teenage boy from Ranger, Texas, in an Eastland, Texas, criminal court early next year.

A spokesman for Eastland County District Attorney Russ Thomason said yesterday the case is on the docket for Jan. 16. Jury selection is expected to start Jan. 13. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, which is a felony in Texas.

Rev. Teczar, a Dudley resident who returned to Texas in 2003 for arraignment, has been free on $30,000 bail. He was first arrested on a fugitive from justice warrant at his Dudley home in December 2002, and was arrested again in March 2003 on a governorís warrant. Rev. Teczar has denied that he fled the state to avoid prosecution or that he has abused the man, identified only as John Doe II.

John Doe II was represented in a civil suit by Tahira Khan Merritt of Dallas, in which the man settled the suit several months ago for $2.75 million. The suit, which alleged the man was sexually abused by Rev. Teczar in Ranger, was settled by the Worcester and Fort Worth dioceses, although the money came from the Fort Worth Diocese.

Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus said after the settlement that Rev. Teczar never received permission from the Worcester bishop, who at the time was Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, to take the priestly assignment in the Fort Worth Diocese. The late Bishop Joseph Delaney of Fort Worth did give him permission to function as a priest and assigned him to St. Ritaís parish in Ranger, which is where the abuse allegedly happened.

Rev. Teczar, who has not been defrocked, was permanently barred from ministry in the 1980s by Bishop Harrington after allegations of sexual abuse of minors were made to the diocese, and his right to function as a priest was never restored by Worcester.

David A. Lewcon of Uxbridge, an alleged victim of Rev. Teczar in this area, said yesterday he will be attending the trial and that he is asking other alleged victims of Rev. Teczar from this area also to go to Texas.

Mr. Lewcon received a settlement from the Worcester Diocese after alleging Rev. Teczar sexually abused him when he was a teenager during the early 1970s. He sued Rev. Teczar in 2002. The Worcester Superior Court jury found that Rev. Teczar abused Mr. Lewcon and damaged him, but declined to award any money.

Posted by kshaw at November 17, 2005 11:50 AM