January 14, 2006

Trial of Worcester-area priest scheduled for May

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

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

The trial of the Rev. Thomas A. Teczar of Dudley, who is charged with indecently assaulting a teenage boy in Ranger, Texas, several years ago, is expected to go forward in mid-May in the 91st District Court in Eastland, Texas.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin yesterday, but the date was changed. A spokeswoman for the Eastland court said yesterday that jury selection will begin May 12 and testimony will begin May 15 before Judge Steven Herod. Notices of the trial date were sent to all lawyers involved in this case.

Rev. Teczar, who is a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Worcester, was arraigned in 2003 in Texas and has been free on $30,000 bail.

He was arrested in Dudley in December 2002 on a warrant alleging he was a fugitive from justice and was arrested again in March 2003 on a governorís warrant. Rev. Teczar has denied he fled Texas to avoid prosecution, and he returned on his own to Texas for the arraignment. He has also denied that he abused the boy, who is identified as John Doe II.

The alleged victim settled a civil suit against the Fort Worth, Texas, and Worcester dioceses several months ago for $2.75 million, although Worcester did not contribute to the settlement. The entire amount came from the Fort Worth diocese.

Rev. Teczar, who was ordained as a priest of the Worcester Diocese in 1967, was barred from ministry in the 1980s by the late Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, but he has not been defrocked. He later took an assignment in the Fort Worth Diocese, which included the Ranger parish in which the alleged sexual abuse happened.

Posted by kshaw at January 14, 2006 07:56 AM